US commerce secretary resigns

2012-06-22 09:49

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - US commerce secretary John Bryson announced his resignation on Thursday, just weeks after he was involved in a sequence of car crashes in California that were blamed on a seizure.

In a letter to President Barack Obama, Bryson said he would leave the cabinet, judging his 9 June seizure "could be a distraction from my performance as secretary."

"Our country would be better served by a change in leadership at the department," he continued.

Bryson is under a felony investigation in California over the two hit-and-run incidents.

According to an account of events from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on that Saturday evening, Bryson's Lexus rear-ended another car as it waited at a railway crossing in the city of San Gabriel.

Drove off

Bryson then spoke to three men in the damaged car and drove away, but hit their Buick again in the process.

He then drove to the city of Rosemead, where he struck a second car.

The secretary later was found "alone and unconscious behind the wheel of his vehicle," said officials.

Neither alcohol nor drugs were suspected as being factors in the accidents, and no one was injured, but the 68-year-old took a medical leave of absence afterward.

According to the US National Institutes for Health seizures can be cause by a broad range of health problems from high glucose levels to meningitis to heart disease.

Bryson's staff have said he had no history of seizures, although the Los Angeles Times reported that in the days leading up to the incidents he had spoken at his daughters' school and had sometimes appeared to ramble and repeat himself.

Overwhelming support

Bryson told staff early on Thursday he would be replaced - at least temporarily - by current deputy commerce secretary Rebecca Blank, who has served in his place since he went on leave.

He had been tapped for the cabinet post last year after predecessor Gary Locke became ambassador to China.

His candidature was seen as an attempt by Obama to mend ties with business and to get the US economy back on track.

It won overwhelming cross-party support, passing the Senate in a 74 to 26 vote in favour, thanks to his business acumen, which had led him to stints on the boards of Boeing and Walt Disney.

Bryson described his department's main role as being "to help America's entrepreneurs and businesses build our economy and create jobs."

In a statement on Thursday, Obama praised Bryson's work.

"I want to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to John for his service over the past months, and wish him and his family the very best," the president said in a statement.

"As secretary, John fought tirelessly for our nation's businesses and workers, helping to bolster our exports and promote American manufacturing and products at home and abroad."

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.