Dr. Eric Lander, a Science Advisor to the White House, offered his resignation to Joe Biden late Monday. In his letter, Lander said that his resignation, effective no later than February 18, comes because he “caused hurt” to colleagues through how he has “spoken to them.”
Lander said that he is devastated by his actions and his wrongful acts came as he sought to push himself and others toward their “shared goals.” He added that he never intended to cross the line into being “disrespectful and demeaning” but acknowledged that he had been, to both men and women.
Politico reported on Lander’s alleged improper behavior when he served as a Science Advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Last Friday, in a separate email to staff, Lander said that he was “deeply sorry” for his behavior and apologized specifically to those he “treated poorly” or was present during his bad actions. He added that he had not lived up to his responsibility to set a respectful tone among everyone he worked with.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement indicating Biden accepted Lander’s resignation on Monday evening and expressed gratitude to Lander for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also acknowledged his work on the “cancer moonshot, climate change, and other key priorities.”
Lander was a member of Biden’s cabinet as part of his position. A White House investigation indicated that he bullied subordinate employees and created a hostile work environment for those who had to deal with him.
Before he tendered his resignation on Monday, it was reported earlier in the day that Lander would not appear before Congress on Tuesday to testify as previously scheduled. He was to have appeared before the health panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to testify about Biden’s proposal to create a new office dedicated to making medical discoveries more rapidly. The proposed agency is called the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health and is modeled on programs with similar missions to expedite scientific discoveries in the Defense and Energy Departments.