U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Monday that he was nominating the grandson of a Lebanese immigrant to join his cabinet.
Posting the news on his official Twitter account, Trump said he has selected Alex Azar II as his secretary of Health and Human Services. The president expressed great confidence in Azar, saying that "he will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!"
Azar served as the president of the American division of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly from 2012 until January of this year. Prior to that, he served as the company's vice president from 2009 to 2011.
He oversaw corporate branding and lobbying efforts at the company, according to Newsweek. He previously served in President George W. Bush’s Department of Health and Human Services as Deputy Secretary, first starting as General Counsel.
A graduate of Yale Law School and Dartmouth College, Azar's story is the epitome of the American dream according to his father, Dr. Alex Azar.
Dr. Azar's father immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon about 100 years ago, now his grandson is serving in the nation's cabinet.
“I’m very proud of him,” Dr. Azar said, according to Delmarva Now. “It’s pretty amazing – only in America.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) was quick to express his confidence in the nomination
However, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was a bit more cautious
Senator Bernie Sanders came out criticizing the move by Trump, calling out Azar's connection to the for-profit pharmaceutical industry
Other politicians also rejected the nomination
For his part, Azar has previously denounced healthcare providers for their lack of transparency.
“It’s absurd to me that one of the largest segments of our economy is organized and operates in such a way that consumers have no real ability to learn about price or quality,” Azar said when he worked under President Bush, according to USA Today.
He has also been critical of the Affordable Care Act – known as Obamacare – championed by President Barack Obama.
“I’m not one to say many good things about Obamacare, but one of the nice things in it is it does give a tremendous amount authority to the secretary of HHS. ...There are still changes that can be made to make it work a little better than it has been," he said in June, according to Bloomberg.
Now Azar will need to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before he officially joins Trump's cabinet. With Trump's Republican party controlling the legislative body, confirmation is likely.