U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, appointed by Barack Obama in 2014, was removed from his post by the White House and replaced by his deputy. Murthy announced on Friday that he had resigned. However, Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Alleigh Marré said in a statement hat he was asked to step down.
"Dr. Murthy, the leader of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, was asked to resign from his duties as Surgeon General after assisting in a smooth transition into the new Trump Administration,," said the DHS statement. "Dr. Murthy has been relieved of his duties as Surgeon General and will continue to serve as a member of the Commissioned Corps. Secretary [Tom] Price thanks him for his dedicated service to the nation,"
Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, Murthy’s deputy, has been asked to serve as acting Surgeon General.
Announcing his departure on Facebook, Murthy wrote, "While I had hoped to do more to help our nation tackle its biggest health challenges, I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to have served."
Murthy added, "For the grandson of a poor farmer from India to be asked by the president to look out for the health of an entire nation was a humbling and uniquely American story. I will always be grateful to our country for welcoming my immigrant family nearly 40 years ago and giving me this opportunity to serve."
Murthy's nomination and confirmation were adamantly opposed by the NRA, other gun rights groups, and Republicans. When Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), a proponent of gun control, refused to vote for him, liberal Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) crossed the aisle and voted yes in Manchin’s place and thus provided the Obama administration with a Surgeon General who viewed guns as a “health care issue.”
Murthy reiterated his support for gun control in 2016, telling STAT:
"I got into some trouble for saying gun violence is a public health issue. A little bit of trouble. But you know, I was stating what I think is the obvious, and I think most people in the country understand, which is that far too many people die from gun violence. And in my book, every single death from gun violence is a tragedy because it was preventable. It’s unacceptable."
As of Friday evening, Rear Admiral Trent-Adams' photo had replaced Murthy's on the surgeon general's Twitter and Facebook pages. Trent-Adams has also served as the chief nurse officer of the U.S. Public Health Service from November 2013 through May 2016. She advised the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the recruitment, assignment, deployment, retention, and career development of Corps nurse professionals.
Prior to joining the Office of the Surgeon General, Trent-Adams was the deputy associate administrator for the HIV/AIDS Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration