It shouldn’t be this hard to understand, but if you are the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, then you probably shouldn’t be investing in tobacco stocks. I mean, that should probably go without mention. I don’t think you should have to tell a dog walker not to walk your dog into oncoming traffic.
But this is Donald Trump’s America, where nothing is as it appears to be, or should be. Brenda Fitzgerald is now the former director of the CDC after a Politico report disclosed that Fitzgerald’s investments included tobacco stocks. She resigned on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after Politico’s report. I guess Fitzgerald didn’t realize that overseeing the agency tasked with promoting public health probably means that she shouldn’t be investing in tobacco stocks.
The new Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who was sworn in earlier this week, announced the resignation in a brief statement, saying that Fitzgerald owns “certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all her duties as the CDC director,” Stat News reports.
Apparently Fitzgerald was unable to divest her shares of tobacco stocks in a reasonable time period, so she offered her resignation, which Azar accepted.
The Politico report notes that after being appointed at the CDC, Fitzgerald purchased between $1,001 and $15,000 worth of Japan Tobacco stock, one of the largest such companies in the world. Fitzgerald reportedly sold all of her shares on Oct. 26 and her stock holdings on Nov. 21, some four months after she became the CDC director.