Dr. Jerome Adams and his wife, Lacey, revealed how the "Trump Effect" has affected their lives.
In an interview with WaPo, Dr. Adams said people didn't want to "touch anything" connected to Trump.
Lacey Adams this past summer was diagnosed with melanoma, marking her third time battling skin cancer.
In 2017, when Dr. Jerome Adams was nominated to serve as surgeon general by then-President Donald Trump, he envisioned focusing on opioid addiction, an important public health issue that had impacted members of his family.
Dr. Adams' wife, Lacey, was no fan of Trump and expressed concerns about her husband receiving a "stigma" if he decided to serve in the administration, but the anesthesiologist convinced her that he could more ably perform work that would be beneficial to Americans if took on the role as surgeon general versus looking in from a glass window.
Jerome and Lacey Adams would prefer to focus on public health issues, as Lacey this past summer battled melanoma — a serious skin cancer — for the third time; both have been vocal about skin-cancer prevention on social media in their efforts to help others.
But in a recent profile in The Washington Post, the couple spoke of the difficulties of shaking off the "Trump Effect," which they said has deeply affected their lives since the surgeon general stepped down from his post last year and returned to Indiana, where their family lived before moving to the nation's capital.
Dr. Adams told The Post that the former president is "a force that really does take the air out of the room."
"The Trump hangover is still impacting me in significant ways," he went on to say, adding that the former president's newly-launched 2024 presidential campaign "will make things more difficult for me."
When Dr. Adams left his role as surgeon general, it took eight months for him to find another job, a situation that at the time worried the couple as they needed to support their three children.
"It was a lot harder than he thought to find a landing spot because of the Trump Effect," Lacey Adams told the newspaper. (Dr. Adams revealed on Twitter that his wife would undergo surgery this week.)
He added: "People still are afraid to touch anything that is associated with Trump."
However, the former surgeon general affirmed that he was "not complaining," but wanted to provide "context" to the situation, according to the newspaper.
In September 2021, Dr. Adams was hired by Purdue University President Mitch Daniels — a one-time director of the Office of Management and Budget and former Indiana governor — to serve as the university's executive director of health equity initiatives. At the university, Adams is also a distinguished professor of practice in the departments of Pharmacy Practice and Public Health.
During an interview with Insider last year, Dr. Adams — one of the most prominent figures on the White House coronavirus task force in 2020 — lamented the partisanship that came to envelop his time in the administration, when he sought to boost the health outcomes of individuals who were most vulnerable in contracting the disease during its peak.
"In February and March of 2020, I was talking with the NAACP and the National Medical Association in trying to raise the alarm that COVID-19 was going to disproportionately hit Black and brown people. I worked with groups to tell them that the virus would affect people in poor health and among lower socioeconomic groups particularly hard. It was heartbreaking, quite frankly, to see it play out the way that it did, because you know, from a scientific point of view, I saw it coming," he told Insider.
"It was frustrating because in many cases, the pitch was not heard the way I wanted it to be heard, because people only saw the guy standing next to President Trump. They didn't see the Black man who fought and overcame so many challenges just to become a doctor after growing up poor and in a rural area. They didn't see the person who spent his entire career really fighting for health equity. They saw 'Trump's Surgeon General' and that caused people to discount, dismiss, or just distrust anything that I said in that space," he added.
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