The U.S. Surgeon General under the Obama administration has resigned and been replaced, at least, temporarily, by his deputy.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that Vivek Murthy was asked to resign after “assisting in a smooth transition” from the Obama administration to that of President Donald Trump.
Murthy’s replacement is his deputy, Sylvia Trent-Adams, who becomes one of the first nurses to serve in the position. Her photo replaced Murthy’s on the Surgeon General’s web page and Twitter account on Friday.
Richard Carmona, a nurse and a physician who served under President George W. Bush, referred to himself as the first nurse to serve as surgeon general.
The U.S. Surgeon General has little power, but often uses his or her position to draw attention to public health concerns.
Murthy’s confirmation in the Senate was opposed by the National Rifle Association because he has spoken out about gun violence in the past, calling it a public health issue.
Health and Human Services employees privately expressed surprise at the swift change of personnel, although it is not unusual for presidential appointees to be replaced in the early days of a new administration.