HHS's Azar tells Trump Capitol attack could tarnish legacy


FILE PHOTO: U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar speaks during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, U.S. August 23, 2020. REUTERS/Erin Scott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told President Donald Trump in a letter this week that the attack on the Capitol could tarnish the legacy of the administration.

In the Jan. 12 letter, Azar cited what he called the administration's successes, including the rapid development of coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics, which he said saved "hundreds of thousands or even millions of American lives."

But, Azar, who will remain on the job until President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20, voiced concern that last week's mob siege of the Capitol building and Trump's unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud "threaten to tarnish these and other historic legacies of this administration."

"The attacks on the Capitol were an assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power," Azar wrote in his formal resignation letter.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Tim Ahmann)

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