WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has relieved Dr. Vivek Murthy of his duties as U.S. Surgeon General.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services says Murthy was asked to resign after “assisting in a smooth transition” under President Donald Trump.
Murthy was a holdover from the Obama administration. “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 wrote on his Facebook page.
“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,” Murthy continued. “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 is the second Indian-American to be removed by the Trump administration from a senior position. The first one was the U.S. Attorney from New York, Preet Bharara, who was fired after he refused to resign.
Murthy’s deputy, Rear Admiral Sylvia Trent-Adams, is serving as acting surgeon general and leader the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps until the Senate confirms a replacement. Her previous positions include being a nurse officer in the U.S. Army.
Health department spokeswoman Alleigh Marre says Murthy will remain a member of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.