Azar: Biden Administration Downplaying Trump’s COVID Work

Azar: Biden Administration Downplaying Trump's COVID Work alex azar speaks from behind podium Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Monday, 18 January 2021 12:53 PM

Officials with the incoming Biden administration are making a "concerted effort" to downplay the accomplishments made by President Donald Trump's administration in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Monday.

"This is a concerted effort by the new team to down-talk where things are, so they could look like heroes when they come in and just carry forward the momentum that we have established," Azar said on Fox News' "America’s Newsroom."

Azar's remarks come after incoming Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain criticized the Trump administration's vaccine rollout and its response to the pandemic, telling CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that "we're inheriting a huge mess here."

Azar said his department's work led to more than 31 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines being distributed to states, with a total of 14 million shots being administered by this past Friday. In addition, he said, more than 900,000 vaccinations are now being administered per day.

"There was always going to be a ramp-up here," Azar said. "It was always going to be part of scaling up. But the key is having those doses available."

He also accused "some governors" as being the ones behind the failure of the vaccine rollout, noting that Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan have administered 50% or less of the vaccine doses that have been received.

"They're failing and they're just looking for somebody else to blame here," said Azar.

Azar said the politicization of the pandemic is his biggest regret about his time in office, because of "how quickly it became point-scoring between the parties, instead of all just rowing together for the good of the American people."

Azar resigned his post last week, citing, in his formal letter dated Jan. 12, the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. His resignation is effective Jan. 20 at noon, at the same time Biden is being sworn into office.

Biden has tapped California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to become the next HHS secretary.