Biden gets controversial Trump officials to resign in first act on inauguration day

Two controversial figures forced to stand down as federal government set for reboot

Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 20 January 2021 21:55 GMT
Fox News' Chris Wallace says Biden speech 'best inaugural address I have ever heard'
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Joe Biden has asked surgeon general Jerome Adams to resign as his administration begins on Wednesday, in what has been billed as a reboot of the US government’s pandemic response.

Mr Adams, who has served as the surgeon general since 2017, announced his resignation at the Biden administration’s request, and said it had “been the honor of my life to serve”.

He and Michel Pack, the chief executive of the state-run US Agency for Global Media (USAGM), are among those Trump administration officials asked to resign by Mr Biden - with more expected to follow.

Shortly before Mr Biden was sworn in as president at the US Capitol, Mr Adams wrote on Twitter that he “will do all I can to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve and maintain health.”  

The resignation marks an end to Mr Adams’ tenure, which has been cut short by around six months, and of which the past eleven months has been focused on the country’s response to the coronavirus.

Since the virus hit the United States last year, some 24 million people have contracted Covid, and more than 400,000 have died.

The outgoing surgeon general wrote in a subsequent post on Facebook that he “wasn’t always right” with his advice to the US government on Covid, but that he hoped “in 2021 and beyond, we can focus more on what unites us, and rise above what divides us,”

“I wasn’t always right- because no one was, and this virus continues to humble all of us - but I was always sincere in my efforts to speak to everyday Americans, and address the terrible health inequities this virus exposed,” said Mr Adams shared in the statement.

He went on to say that his proudest achievement had been a 2018 advisory recommending that more Americans carry the opioid overdose-reversing drug Naloxone, because his family had suffered from drug misuse in the past.

The post of surgeon general is not expected to be immediately filled by the new administration, according to Politico, while the Biden administration has promised to get control of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Biden also looks set to reboot the US government’s media agency, which Mr Pack had been accused of posing "a long-term threat” to, following recent allegations of fraud that were filled in court. 

Mr Pack said in a statement on Wednesday that “the new administration has requested by resignation”, and that it had been a “huge honour” to oversee the US Agency for Global Media.

He went on to say that he “will continue to admire and praise USAGM’s journalists”, and claimed to have worked to “reorient” the agency towards bipartisanship coverage.

Democrats and some Republicans have, however, accused Mr Pack of trying to turn Voice of America and other USAGM-controlled networks into pro-Trump propaganda outlets, the Associated Press reported. 

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