CDC Head Resigns Over Purchase Of Tobacco Stocks

CNBC is reporting that CDC head Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald resigned this morning. Yesterday multiple outlets reported that she purchased stock in a global Big Tobacco company after Trump appointed her to the post.

After assuming the CDC leadership July 7, Fitzgerald bought tens of thousands of dollars in new stock holdings in at least a dozen companies later that month as well as in August and September, according to Politico.

Prior to accepting the CDC position, Fitzgerald owned stock in five other tobacco companies: Reynolds American, British American Tobacco, Imperial Brands, Philip Morris International, and Altria Group Inc.

“You don’t buy tobacco stocks when you are the head of the CDC. It’s ridiculous; it gives a terrible appearance,” Richard Painter, who served as George W. Bush’s chief ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007, told Politico. He described the move as “tone deaf,” given the CDC’s role in leading anti-smoking efforts.

UPDATE: Just in from HHS.

  • crewman

    it gives a terrible appearance

    Indeed. It gives the impression you are planning to use your position to sabotage/undermine the anti-tobacco efforts in order to profit at the expense of millions of Americans and decades of extremely hard-won battles.

    • netxtown

      Until I hear the govt has plowed under the tobacco fields – all the rest is just lip service. The US govt makes a shit load of money off tobacco taxes – and they aren’t about to give it up. Lung cancer is lung cancer – but money is everything! /s

      Edit: i put the snark indicator there so that folks wouldn’t think i was being insensitive to/about lung cancer. There is a sizeable number of folks with lung cancer who have never smoked….hence,,, the snark

      • Todd20036

        That isn’t snark. Why do you think the feds are all about keeping marijuana illegal while tobacco is legal everywhere?
        Marijuana has relatively few health issues compared to tobacco, but marijuana isn’t the money maker tobacco is.

      • clay

        “The US govt makes a shit load of money off tobacco taxes – and they aren’t about to give it up.”

        You put in the snark indicator, but this Dr. had the GA public school fitness campaign sponsored by . . . Coca Cola.

        • Todd20036

          To be fair, Coca Cola now owns HonesT, which is actually healthy to drink.
          I prefer the unsweetened green tea and Moroccan Mint flavors.

      • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

        Wow! It’s extremely heartening to see that someone else shares my view on this.

        I have no love for the U.S., nor its people when production of this horrible mechanism for death continues unabated. I’m a smoker and I hate it. Meth was easier to remove from my life than this scourge.

        • Helen Damnation™

          I agree, and add heroin and alcohol to the list of drugs easier to quit than tobacco.

        • netxtown

          I smoke as well. My ‘quit’ number must be about 50 or 60…

          • Xiao Ai: The Social Gadfly

            I’m positive those numbers equal my own. 😒

    • boatboy_srq

      Make America Smoke Again®

  • Yalma Cuder-Zicci
    • another_steve

      Lol. I’m old enough to remember my family’s personal physician smoking in the consultation room.

      • Todd20036

        Oh honey, you’re old enough to remember when the doctor prescribed leeches…

        *ducks, runs*

        • another_steve

          Lol. You’re right there behind me when it comes to the year-count, honey. You ain’t foolin’ no one. You ain’t chicken* any more.

          (*For the edification of the young ones reading here… chicken = a young and supple gay guy)

          • Todd20036

            I’ve blown a few minds when I tell people my age though.

          • another_steve

            I bet you’ve blown a lot more than “a few minds” in your day.

            You hussy.

          • JCF

            The “little head”.

          • Richard

            Ahhh, ” chicken = a young and supple gay guy ” … so that’s where the term “chicken hawk” comes from….??

          • another_steve

            Exactly.

            1970s.

      • mikemmiv

        I was a kid… but in movie theaters too.

        • David Walker

          Anywhere in the theater, but then that got changed to balcony only. Which was fine. If you were feeling particularly anti-social or rebellious or ignorant, you could sit in the front row and flick your ashes down on whoever was below you. I’ve heard.

        • another_steve

          Smoking in federal government buildings was permitted – for employees and for the public – up until sometime in the 1980s, as I recall.

        • Phil2u

          …. and on airplanes !

      • doninkansas

        Mine did too. And offered them to me when I was in my early tens. lol but he did tell not to start when I told him I didn’t smoke.

    • Todd20036

      I’m old enough to remember “Smoking may be hazardous to your health”

      I remember thinking that I don’t care how iffy the danger was. Anything that smoked that obnoxious outside of the body couldn’t be good for you on the inside.

      I was 7

      • mikemmiv

        I kinda miss candy cigarettes.

      • B Snow

        I remember liking the smell of cigarettes when I was 7. My friend’s glamorous mom smoked, and I would inhale the smell. smdh

    • Raising_Rlyeh
  • clay

    “it gives a terrible appearance,”

    Form follows function.

  • Michael R
  • RGG

    It’s not tone deaf, it’s corrupt.

  • AmeriCanadian

    In Drumpf world, why resign? I mean, what’s the worst that can happen to a Republican anymore? Members of congress become “concerned” but that’s about it.

  • boatboy_srq

    That was fast. Perhaps shame really is a thing in this maladministration. At least in parts of it.

    So, the GOTea goal is to leave all these positions unfilled because all their sorry excuses for nominees aren’t qualified/suitable?

  • Gigi

    You don’t buy tobacco stocks when you are the head of the CDC…unless you’re a Trump appointee. EPA head Scott Pruitt is a climate change denier once worked as a lobbyist for the chemical industry before he was appointed by Trump.

    • Berdawn Hutchinson

      eh, Pai worked for Verizon before he was appointed by Obama. While Trump has lowered the bar, the US has pretty much allowed industries to run the joint since Reagan

      • Gigi

        There’s no denying that but with Trump it’s more in-your-face. The revolving door between private industry and government positions should be closed. You shouldn’t be able to lobby for Big Oil, run and destroy the EPA, then go back to a cu$hy position at a Big Oil firm.

    • lymis

      Can we talk Tillerson?

  • Mordred LeFey

    It’s like a shepard investing in wolves.

  • JoeMyGod

    HHS statement added to this post. Refresh to see.

    • Gustav2

      Translation:

      She can’t unwind the purchases she just made.

      • clay

        She couldn’t be bothered to actually look past the rate of return on those bundled money markets. But it’s super easy– go to Calvert or Vanguard and tell them, “no tobacco, no pharm.”

    • boatboy_srq

      Humph. “certain complex financial interests” which impede her work. Can we apply the same criteria to to the rest of this maladministration?

      • The_Wretched

        Insider trading? Trading on a high office of this United States? Either way, it’s criminal.

        • boatboy_srq

          It’s also near-universal in this maladministration. If she can be shamed into departing, others should be as well.

  • Rocco

    Good, now if the rest of them had any sense of shame…,

    • Adam King

      She doesn’t need the job. Turns out it’s more of a hassle than a sinecure, so to hell with it.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok

    Who knew how many best people even existed ?

  • Paula

    OMG! A republican actually having to walk the walk to match the talk the talk. How unfair! You people are violating her uncivil rights. She knew it would be a money maker. Trump’s base will keep her dividends up.

    • I think because she knew it would be a money maker is the reason she left. Why work when you can loot?

    • boatboy_srq

      I actually think slightly less badly of her for resigning: most other tRumpets would have shrugged it off and kept going. Her departure makes such conflicts of interests just that little bit less business-as-usual.

    • lymis

      Note, though, Republican woman. Let’s see when this starts applying to the men who were clearly hired to completely destroy the agencies they were put in charge of.

  • Ragnar Lothbrok
    • RaygunsGoZap

      Yes! Can we forever refer to her as Filthy Fitzgerald who sat behind her desk doing nothing but trading stocks and creating additional conflicts of interest as Americans died from the flu she was charged with combatIng.

      • Cattleya1

        The most corrupt US administration, ever!

    • Robincho

      She seems nice…

    • Joe in PA

      “The best people”!

  • JoeMyGod

    So the very first public act of Trump’s new HHS secretary is to accept the resignation of Trump’s CDC head.

    • northern_neighbour

      Hah! Pretty “Rich” all right!

      This filthy shameless GRASPING B*e*o*t*c*h* hadn’t even the slightest rudimentary notion of moral responsibility, nor the tiniest shred of fashion savoir faire … looking as she does like an assistant funeral director from the 50’s.

      I suppose that last is somewhat of an unkind ‘ad feminam’ observation, but, oh man! …is she ever THE poster girl for vapid + evil Republican Moral Hypocrisy.

      No internal dialogue going on in her head .. “Ethics? WTF is that about?”

      She’s an absolute Metaphor for Rapacious GOP Greed. Rampant CANCER devouring the body politic and destroying an entire nation.!

      And now she’s marching off the gangplank … YAY! … but the most brilliant creative novelist would be hard pressed to come up with fiction of this calibre …, yet sadly Trump’s Shark Tank is still chock-o-block full of such monstrous Amoral Predators.

  • cleos_mom

    If anyone needed the perfect example of Trump’s regime and the Republican soul, here it is.

    As I’m sure most people here have noted, The Shrub’s former “ethics lawyer” objected to the purchase not on any moral and ethical basis but on appearances.

    • Berdawn Hutchinson

      it’s always the APPEARANCE of impropriety and never actual wrong-doing

      • prixator

        Of course! The dirty deeds should always be done behind the scenes to provide for a measure of plausible deniability if exposed.

  • Hank

    Now I do not feel so bad for getting a new “pipe” to go along with my edibles, yesterday!!!

  • Rex

    Cold war, coal, cigarettes – Trump is taking us back to the 1950’s, so I get to re-live the years I was too young to remember.

    • Paula

      Everything old is new again.

      • AmeriCanadian

        Much to my chagrin. My hubby wants to replace some lighting. I can’t frickin’ stand it!

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5ac6a196db8638a0c6ca3ecf8068a6d1491d6380eb066b08b0c03571aa025484.jpg

        • RaygunsGoZap

          He wants to get rid of that or keep it?

          • AmeriCanadian

            He wants this style (not necessarily the one pictured). We are currently arguing about it. Here’s another one of his ideas:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ce5f05aa46d4e25ce60f5b399146d97b22ffc16337ff045e9f68c429e720be8b.jpg

          • David Walker

            It’s so…space age. It’s so moderne. It’s so Murkin Diner. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

          • AmeriCanadian

            Thanks. It’s hideous. He wants something “funky”. I say no.

          • David Walker

            This is not funky. This is… Are you getting new furniture, too? Be sure to cover all of it in plastic.

          • RaygunsGoZap

            We support you!

          • Joe in PA

            Oh dear.

          • Paula

            Isn’t that a model of the early Reptilian space cruisers?

          • AmeriCanadian

            It could probably pass. 😉

          • paganguy

            It is very mid-century moderne. Did he watch the Jetsons as a kid?

          • AmeriCanadian

            I know. We went to a lighting store over the weekend and he gravitated toward the wacky stuff. He says it’s the “in thing” now. Really? I’m not feeling it.

            Here’s yet another choice. I told him absolutely NO bare bulbs.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/64763f2c56170097e8570e0d030267e63c074a339eb25c14663fe3fc89ee99bd.jpg

          • Hryflex

            I just saw this fixture at a cast party at the home of the tech director of a show I was in. I’d been wondering if he was gay. This (and the calendar on his fridge of shirtless firemen) confirmed it.

          • Phil2u

            It looks like my room at the Marlton Hotel in NYC…right over the bed!

        • safari

          How sputnik

        • Paula

          Is that a prop from a Mad Max movie?

          • BlueberriesForMe

            How about a Mad Men Max movie?

    • clay

      Seriously, they’re years that Trump’s nearly too young to remember.

      • AmeriCanadian

        Yes but are they the years that he remembers most fondly? Did his mother hold him up against her bosom perhaps?

        • Adam King

          Eew!

    • GayOldLady

      You don’t want to remember the days when coal soot hovered over every major city in the U.S. during the winter months. Or when everyone, including me, smoked everywhere except at church. Those were not the days my friend.

      • Rex

        We heated our home with coal until I was in my teens. It was horribly dirty, the soot would get all over everything. I don’t miss that at all.

        • The_Wretched

          “Clean coal”! (still makes ash, still turns into carbon dioxide)

          Up next, safe to eat dioxin and using sand as sugar.

          • clay

            “Clean coal” still produces just as much coal dust to mine and transport, as well as still makes soot and ash as it burns into carbon dioxide.

        • GayOldLady

          I don’t miss it either. In my childhood and even into my early adult life everyone heated with coal, even using coal in their fireplaces. It is filthy and there’s no such thing as “clean coal”.

          • Cattleya1

            I remember my grandmother burning coal in the fireplace when I was young.

      • Phil2u

        The Baptist church we attended had a smoking lounge between the pastor’s office and the men’s bathroom. Women smoked outside, of course… I guess so the smoke wouldn’t cling to their mink stoles.

    • another_steve

      I’m surprised Trump and his ilk haven’t started employing the “Communist” bugaboo. Look how effective that was back in the 40s and 50s.

      “Those godless Communists!”

      • AmeriCanadian

        I think immigrants ARE the new communists.

        • David Walker

          Plus, when all else fails, one can always trot out the faggots.

        • doninkansas

          And liberals

      • clay

        steve, you were here for the Obama-care debates.

        • another_steve

          Lol. Indeed.

          Bernie Sanders would have been Trump’s dream opponent in November 2016. Trump’s wet dream. I guarantee you that at least 75 percent of American adults conflate Socialism with Communism. Have no idea whatsoever what the difference there is.

          Had Sanders been the Democratic candidate in November, Trump would have trounced him even without any help from Russia.

  • kanehau

    The swamp just drained a tiny bit.

    • Bluto

      She’ll be replaced with the Marlboro Man.

  • TJay229

    Remember his “The best peopeo ..” 🤣😂🤣😂

  • Kevin Andrews

    There is no clearer evidence of the fraud perpetrated on America than actions as demonstrated. They are all traitors.

  • Hank

    Anyone check to see what her “Doctorate” actually is??? I would guess it is probably in some Religious PHD!!!

    • clay

      Ob-Gyn from Georgia, who pushed anti-aging quackery.
      State Public Health Director, who got Coca Cola to sponsor her public school anti-obesity campaign.

      • BlueberriesForMe

        Well, at least she’s consistent. /s

  • GayOldLady

    What? Couldn’t she find a good Herpes Stock to invest in?

    • Stogiebear

      Trump snatched up all the herpes futures.

      • GayOldLady

        He deserves them!

  • another_steve

    This is an administration consisting of criminals, plain and simple. Some get caught, some don’t.

    This one did.

    • Hank

      Even when they get caught, they do NOT have the MORALS to resign!!! Zinke, Pruitt, Herr Drumpf….

    • romanhans

      All I can figure is this lady got tired of working because she could have flown opium here from Turkey on Air Force One and the Republicans and the media would have been cool.

  • Stogiebear

    Now we wait to see which money grubbing Deplorable came in second place to her.

    • David Walker

      OT: Did you meet your deadline yesterday?

      • Stogiebear

        I met it today. At 10 am I finally finished and delivered it at 11 am. Had to completely rework my design/presentation board because the double-sided tape I recently purchased is for shit; that crap seriously would not hold two pieces of paper together. Ended up having to use PVA (white glue) to make sure the thing stayed together.

  • Kevin Perez

    .. the best people .. extreme vetting .. winning ..

  • Rex

    How long before she returns as a lobbyist?

    • boatboy_srq

      When was she NOT a lobbyist?

    • Luddite

      About two weeks. She is probably negotiating her salary from Big Tobacco.

  • RaygunsGoZap

    I’m not on Twitter, but if you are please consider #FitzgeraldFlu as something to tweet about today and not let her slink from this without maximal shame. Please encourage those who know someone who died of the #FitzgeraldFlu to contact Dr. Fitzgerald and request a donation to their loved one’s memorial fund.

    • clay

      Why would you expect her to do or say anything about the flu? When called to appear before Congress regarding opioid addiction and overdoses, she sent underlings, three times.

      • RaygunsGoZap

        I don’t expect anything of her, I just want her to be hounded and shamed

  • Friday’s_cat

    Let me guess Trumpco plans on rescinding tobacco product warnings and Fitzgerald jumped the gun on an attempted get rich quick scheme.

  • Lakeview Bob

    Only a republican can be this stupid.

    • joe ho

      nah. bernie or busters and green partiers are more stupid than that.

  • Hank
  • The_Wretched

    Resigned is not good enough. This is criminal SEC violations stuff. She needs to goto jail.

  • alc2018
  • Hank
    • Hank

      I am enjoying reading the Opinion page of the NYTimes. There has been nothing positive about Herr Drumpf so far!

  • alc2018

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d43af4cbb8643544cbc9c67a7ae21a86dd53eb4d2b0897de03802ba8592ae523.jpg she’s as dumb as a bag of rocks, every dummy knows not to smoke out in public!

    • MaryJOGrady

      Bette Davis eventually suffered a stroke which paralyzed one side of her face. Her smoking was likely a contributing factor.

  • Dreaming Vertebrate

    Another promising career cut short by tobacco.
    Sad!

  • Macbill

    Shirley, she’ll get a fat pension for her troubles.

    • The_Wretched

      I’m sure Trump’s only interest is in himself and he finds it impossible to conflict with it.

    • -M-

      Freefall. Very interesting and funny comic.
      👍
      Odd pacing as they come out three times a week but there’s hardly any passage of time between comics, so over the years they’ve had a few months or so of story time.

      • That’s not abnormal for webcomics though. And yeah it’s a solid comic, one of the better “hard” sci-fi comics out there.

        • -M-

          Very thoughtful about interstellar colonization, terraforming, artificial intelligence and sentience etc without getting bogged down in technical details. Loved the Dr Bowman storyline.

  • Pablo Sánchez

    This tells you what she really thought about her position and its purpose: It was just a paycheck. It’s a Trump appointee trait, IE Pruit, Devos, Perry, Zinke…

    • Stev84

      Many of them actually care about the job. Because they want to destroy what they are in charge of

  • Hiraku

    She’s an ObGyn doctor before being appointed by Trump. I’m curious what she’s been telling her patients about what smoking does to their bodies (and their babies)

    • David Walker

      Or where else on the female body one can pug in a cigarette.

      • Hiraku

        Hoboy

    • Lumpy Gaga

      “It’s toasted!”

    • BobSF_94117

      That it earns her dividends?

  • Marty Pavelka

    Jesus Haploid Christ, you cannot make this crap up.

  • alc2018
    • leastyebejudged

      Alternate headline:

      ” Should’ve listened ! “

  • Renfield
  • Lumpy Gaga

    “Dr.” Brenda?

    Doctor of what?

    Was she crossing her fingers during the “Do no Harm” part of her oath?

  • AJ Drew

    “But Dahnald, the plan was for us to make a killing by raising prices! Eventually they wouldn’t be able to afford it and we’d save their little lives! Win/Win!”

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e3b0677f234f2bf6444ca66655776675e015ccb50e42ec1a96b76855b8b39fbd.jpg

  • kareemachan

    The “best”, right, shitgibbon?

    ETA: I guess she doesn’t have exorbitant debt from going to med school. Huh.

  • BlueberriesForMe

    “complex financial interests”. Sure, Jan.

  • Mike

    Calling this tone deaf and saying it makes a terrible appearance is kind of tone deaf itself. This is bloody outrageous. It’s no wonder people can’t tell the news from satire lately. It’s all the same.

  • Jim Maloney

    Another bad decision by Baby Huey.

  • Lars Littlefield

    Good riddance.

  • TexasBoy

    Draining the swamp, one Trump appointee at a time.

  • Jefe5084

    Brenda, you ignorant fuck.

  • MaryJOGrady

    Good!

  • JWC

    Bye bye Felicia Don’t let the door slap your ass on the way out

  • Natty Enquirer

    A little less swamp until Trump pumps in the next quart of bilge water.

  • Cuberly Deux

    Another face goes up on Rachel’s board.

  • Renfield

    A long time ago I worked briefly at a cancer research facility and in that capacity I went to a lung cancer convention (I have no medical background; at the time, just compiling research data). I’d say about 1/3 of the doctors at the convention were smokers.

    • leastyebejudged

      Dermatologists are similar. Morbid obesity and bad skin does not a competent physician make.

  • SilasMarner

    What a stupid cow she is.

    • djcoastermark

      That’s a lot nicer than I would of said. But you’re correct.

  • leastyebejudged

    The timing of this coincides with that new tobacco product being approved for the US market, smokeless tobacco or some-such idiotic bullshit.

  • Ninja0980

    So much for draining that swamp eh?

  • I read she then toured the CDC lab where they test cigarettes’ harmful chemicals.

    It’s like DT and his appointees are all evil villains in a Batman movie. (I was going to say 007 movie, but they are not that smart as villains.)
    If only we could see the credits and get up and leave already.

  • DreadPirateZed

    One of my clients – a cardiologist – is pretty up-front about actively buying RJR/Altria/etc. stock. He doesn’t smoke himself, and he’s quite vocal about counseling his patients not to smoke, but he doesn’t see why that should mean he has to pass up some of the best, most consistent returns on the market.
    I like the guy, and he’s a really good cardiologist… but there’s something about it that always gives me the creeps. Still, though, he’s a private individual and _not_ the face of public health policy; for the head of the CDC, this is a really really bad look.

    I can’t say I’m thrilled to hear that the Trump organization is firing a woman from a top job (any bets on what her replacement will look like?), but she had to go – for straight-up cluelessness if for nothing else.

  • JCF
  • teedofftaxpayer

    All of Trump’s appointments are corrupted why should she be any different?

  • Luddite

    Ding dong the witch is dead!

  • Rick Zajac

    I quit smoking cold turkey 15 years ago and I had a three pack a day habit; menthol. I had trouble breathing, I couldn’t really sing anymore not to mention the cost. And look at the prices now! I knew I had to quit, there was no other option. If you really want to do it, you’ll do it. The chance of developing a smoking related illness has dropped significantly.