Lujan Grisham, who currently co-chairs Biden’s transition team, had been a leading candidate for HHS secretary but also turned down an offer in recent days to run the Interior Department, according to two sources close to the transition.
“It’s a better fit and it’s where her interest and her heart is,” one person close to Lujan Grisham said of her desire to lead HHS rather than the Interior Department. “You can’t blame her for being honest about where her real passion lies.”
Yet a source close to the transition said that rejection hurt her candidacy for other jobs in the administration, including HHS secretary. A pair of news reports on Wednesday portraying Lujan Grisham as a frontrunner for HHS secretary also didn’t sit well with people in Biden’s orbit, though there is no evidence that Lujan Grisham played a role in those stories.
A spokesperson for Lujan Grisham declined to comment. The Biden transition team also did not immediately comment.