Becerra, who is a former congressman and California AG, is attempting to lead HHS through a pandemic despite having zero health-care experience whatso ever, which has made for a difficult relationship from the beginning.
WH officials have been so frustrated with the top health official Sec. Xavier Becerra as the Covid pandemic continues that they have publicly mused about who may be better for the job, although some political considerations have kept them from taking the steps needed to replace him, WH officials who are involved in the conversations have said.
Their dissatisfaction has risen in recent months as the omicron strain has made millions of Americans sick in a fifth wave of the pandemic amid conflicting and confusing messages from leading health officials that brought scrutiny to Pres. Biden’s strategy, according to three top administration officials and two advisers on the outside with direct knowledge of the discussions.
The frustration with Sec. Becerra comes as leading White House and health officials are facing growing criticism for their messaging missteps on health, as well as several controversial policies about Covid isolation and testing.
They have also said the health sec. isn’t fulfilling a core responsibility of the job, which is to coordinate the country’s vast health bureaucracy to help achieve the Biden Administration’s strategy, even though he doesn’t set it. For instance, they have cited officials’ airing of differences over covid-19 isolation guidance and boosters as unnecessary and confusing. They said the tension growing between the White House and Becerra has made the pandemic response complicated at a time when Americans are already tired and having a hard time to make sense of the ever-changing guidelines.
National Review and others have tried warning the administration.
WH spokesman Kevin Munoz has denied the report.
“Since day 1, the Biden administration has had a coordinated, strong COVID-19 response thanks to Sec. Becerra and other HHS officials at every level of the government,” he said, adding that the criticism is only “anonymous gossip.”
“HHS is one of the most crucial agencies in this fight and we have created a coordinated operation that is working in unison day and night, each day of the week,” he stated.
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