Despite being head of the nation’s federal health agency, former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra reportedly is not a leader in the administration’s efforts to fight the coronavirus.
“They brief him,” one person familiar with the pandemic response team said in a Politico report. “But he’s not a decider on response activities.”
Biden, instead, has chosen Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky and infectious disease physician Anthony Fauci to be the public face of the administration’s public health strategy. Politico explained that this is “a recognition of Becerra’s own lack of experience as a public health policymaker and communicator.”
“HHS’ central role underscores the extent to which Becerra himself has stayed on the margins of the public-facing response effort,” Politico concluded. “To date, he has not participated in any of the administration’s Covid-19 briefings, where officials routinely roll out new policies and messaging.”