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Outgoing health secretary Azar condemns Capitol riot in resignation letter

Alex Azar will step down when President-elect Joe Biden takes office and warned President Trump of a potentially tarnished legacy after the Capitol riot.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is condemning the assault on the U.S. Capitol in his formal letter of resignation.

Azar says he will resign at noon on Jan. 20, when President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.

Azar wrote in his letter to President Donald Trump, dated Jan. 12: “The attacks on the Capitol were an assault on our democracy and on the tradition of peaceful transitions of power that the United States of America first brought to the world.”

He added: “I implore you to continue to condemn unequivocally any form of violence, to demand that no one attempt to disrupt the inaugural activities in Washington or elsewhere, and to continue to support unreservedly the peaceful and orderly transition of power on January 20.”

The two-page letter recited administration accomplishments, but Azar warned “the actions and rhetoric following the election, especially during this past week, threaten to tarnish these and other historic legacies of this Administration," according to CNN.

Trump was impeached by the House Wednesday for "incitement of insurrection." Trump spent two months claiming, without evidence, that widespread voting fraud led to his loss. Elections officials across the country and former Attorney General William Barr stated there was no fraud on a level that could change the result of Biden's 306-232 electoral college win. 

On Jan. 6, following a rally at which Trump spoke, hundreds of his supporters marched to the Capitol in an apparent attempt to stop Congress' certification of Biden's win. Five people died as a result of the attack.

Azar becomes the fourth Trump Cabinet member to announce his resignation in the nine days since the riot, although the others have already left their positions. Azar is staying until Biden is sworn in.

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Credit: AP
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar speaks during a news conference in the briefing room at the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)