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WH officials discuss HHS secretary replacement following criticism of pandemic response: WSJ

Trump administration officials have discussed replacing Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar after his handling of the early days of the coronavirus pandemic has come under fire, six sources familiar with the situation told The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal's sources said that while the administration has expressed apprehension about shaking up top HHS personnel during the pandemic, they did note that frustration with Azar has been building in recent weeks.

The officials, however, didn't indicate to the Journal if a personnel change was imminent.

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Earlier this month, President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE in a tweet said Azar "told me nothing until later," in response to questions about why the president didn't take action against the pandemic earlier.

White House spokesman Judd DeereJudd DeereHere's how presidents move into the White House in just hours on Inauguration Day Pence's relationship with Trump fractures in final days Trump stares down new impeachment threat MORE denied that any kind of firing was forthcoming.

“The Department of Health and Human Services, under the leadership of Secretary Azar, continues to lead on a number of the President’s priorities,” Deere told the Journal. “Any speculation about personnel is irresponsible and a distraction from our whole-of-government response to COVID-19.” 

A HHS spokeswoman told the publication Saturday: "Secretary Azar is busy responding to a global, public health crisis and doesn’t have time for palace intrigue."