Obama’s Commerce Secretary resigns after mysterious crashes

Commerce Secretary John Bryson's resignation letter

In a letter to President Obama, Commerce Secretary John Bryson resigned  just weeks after a series of car crashes in San Gabriel that police considered “hit and runs.”

“As a consequence of a recent seizure and medical leave of absence… I have decided to step down as the Secretary of Commerce,” Bryson wrote in the letter dated June 20. “I have concluded that the seizure I suffered on June 9 could be a distraction from my performance as Secretary and that our country would be better served by a change in leadership of the Department.”

Bryson is a resident of San Marino and the crashes in question occurred when “[he] was allegedly travelling southbound in a Lexus on San Gabriel Boulevard and rear-ended a Buick occupied by three males that was stopped on the street awaiting a passing train,” according to Captain Mike Parker of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. “Bryson spoke with the males, then left the scene, hitting the same car again as he left the scene. The three males followed him in their car while calling San Gabriel Police officers via 911 and asking for assistance.”

In a memo to Deputy Secretary Rebecca Blank, just days after the crashes, Bryson announced that he had given a notice of his medical leave to the president on June 11.

“I notified President Obama this evening that effective immediately I am taking a medical leave of absence so that I can focus all of my attention on resolving the health issues that arose over the weekend.  During the period of my illness, I will not perform the functions and duties of my office,” Bryson worte. ” Therefore, by operation of law, as my first assistant you will act in my stead for the duration of my absence.”

Blank immediately became Acting Secretary of Commerce and taken over all of Bryson’s duties. On Jun20, when Bryson resigned, the acting secretary was in Warsaw, Poland with the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak to welcome participants in the U.S.-Poland Business Summit and Business Roundtable. According to a statement release by the Commerce Department, the event is  important and fulfills an agreement made during President Obama’s visit to Poland last yearto bring together U.S. and Polish business and government leaders.

Bryson alleges that his seizure was the cause of the crashes, but police are still investigating the matter.


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