President Trump laid into Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar over decisions made by his administration regarding the ban on most flavored e-cigarettes.
According to Axios, citing two sources, the president called Azar during an Oval Office meeting with campaign advisers when the issue of health care came up and said, “I should never have done that fucking vaping thing.” The New York Times also reported about the president lashing out at Azar and using the expletive.
Axios goes on to report that Trump has not changed his mind on his administration’s current vaping policy. The regret lies in the president weighing in on the matter at all and not leaving it to the Food and Drug Administration to deal with.
In September, Trump announced he would take “very, very strong” action to combat the rise in teenage vaping by banning all flavored e-cigarettes. But, under pressure from industry groups and his own supporters, some of whom threatened not to vote for him if he went through with a complete ban, federal officials announced a compromise: they would ban sales of flavored e-cigarette pods except for tobacco and menthol flavors. They also said there would be exceptions made for liquid nicotine for tank systems.
It appears the issue became more politically fraught than Trump had imagined, and with this reporting, he seems to regret his decision to take it on forcefully.