President-elect Joe Biden is expected to ask Surgeon General Jerome Adams to resign after he is sworn in later today in what is seen as further indication of the incoming administration’s decision to break away from the Trump administration’s Covid-19 response.
Biden has nominated Vivek H. Murthy, the surgeon general under Barack Obama, to serve in the role. Murthy is a close adviser to the president-elect. Senate confirmation hearings for Murthy have not yet been scheduled though the Senate is working fast to hold hearings for other prospective members of Biden’s cabinet.
Outgoing President Donald Trump dismissed Murthy in 2017, a move that angered Democrats.
“The Surgeon General must remain independent and free from political pressure,” Senate Democrats wrote in a letter shortly after Murthy was dismissed.
Adams was a public face of Trump’s coronavirus response, contradicting the president even as he ignored the recommendation of health experts.
For example, Adams was firm over the summer that the transmission rate of the novel coronavirus must be lowered before schools can consider reopening.
“We know the risk is low to the actual students,” Adams told CBS This Morning at the time. “But we know they can transmit to others. … We need to take measures to make sure we protect those who are vulnerable either because they are older or they have chronic medical conditions.”
Trump had lobbied to reopen schools, arguing that shuttering the economy would be disastrous even as case numbers skyrocketed in states that declined to enforce lockdown measures.