The Cabinet official has stepped down, just two weeks after a bizarre accdeint in Los Angeles.
Editor's note: A version of this post was originally published on June 11.
Why Are We Talking About This Guy? On Wednesday evening, Bryson -- the commerce secretary since October 2011 -- submitted his resignation to the president. He had been on medical leave since June 11, when news emerged that Bryson was involved in two accidents within minutes of each on Saturday in Los Angeles County, California. The first was a hit-and-run, which police are investigating as a felony; after the second, Bryson was found unconscious and taken to a hospital for treatment. The good news -- if there is any -- is that police don't believe that drugs or alcohol were involved. The Commerce Department released a statement saying Bryson had suffered a seizure. ABC's Jake Tapper reports that Bryson, who is 68, has had seizures before -- during a board meeting at Boeing about four years ago, he blacked out and had to be taken to a hospital.
What Exactly Does the Commerce Secretary Do, Anyway? It's a relatively minor Cabinet post, though it's been held by a few important politicians -- most notably, Herbert Hoover used it as his springboard to the presidency. On the surface, it sounds important: The Commerce Department is responsible for fostering economic growth and job creation domestically and working to promote overseas trade. But the reality is that Congress, the president, and the Federal Reserve have more direct control over job creation and the economy. Commerce collects much of the nation's economic and population data, most importantly the Census, and also includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the world's saddest aquarium, in the basement of the department's offices in Washington. Bryson's Commerce page says he's taken a particular interest in manufacturing.