White House sends HHS secretary to attend Piñera’s inauguration

SANTIAGO – Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar will lead the U.S. delegation attending the inauguration of Chile’s next president on Sunday, the White House said on Saturday.

Azar, who was confirmed as the Trump administration’s new health chief in January, will lead a delegation to the ceremony where conservative Sebastián Piñera will be inaugurated as president for a second time.

Azar will be accompanied by Carol Perez, the U.S. Ambassador to Chile, the White House said.

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Trump nominated Azar, a former pharmaceutical executive and industry lobbyist, to the top health post in November after the resignation of former HHS chief Tom Price amid outrage over his use of taxpayer dollars to travel on private jets for official business.

Piñera, a billionaire businessman and Harvard-trained economist, previously occupied the presidency from 2010 to 2014. He was the first conservative leader of Chile since the country ended martial rule in 1990, and has promised to reinvigorate the South American nation’s private sector.