Rhode Island Gov. Raimondo says she won’t be Biden’s HHS secretary

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Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said she is no longer in the running to become Health and Human Services Secretary for President-elect Joe Biden.

“I am not going to be President-elect Biden’s nominee for HHS Secretary,” Raimondo said during her weekly press conference Thursday. “My focus is right here in Rhode Island, as I have said.” 

She did not offer any explanation for her remarks and did not respond to any further questions, saying she had “nothing else to add on that topic.”

Raimondo’s name surfaced in recent reports as a top contender to be health secretary in the new administration. She is a second-term governor who is term limited, meaning that she cannot run again.

However, her candidacy immediately drew fire from the left, with progressives criticizing her efforts to shield nursing homes from liability during the COVID-19 pandemic, and her previous attempts to privatize the state’s Medicaid program.

Rhode Island has been one of the hardest-hit states in the Northeast during the most recent surge of COVID-19 infections, and the state this week said hospitals were at capacity with COVID-19 patients. 

The state has one of the highest coronavirus death rates by population in the country.

Raimondo this week implemented a two-week “pause” of the state’s reopening plans, which requires theaters and indoor sports facilities to close, and reduces capacity at restaurants and houses of worship. It also limits social gatherings to a single household.

Tags Coronavirus Joe Biden

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