HHS spokesman who launched paranoid violent conspiracy theory to take leave of absence
Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo will not be fired by Secretary Alex Azar, but will take a 60-day leave of absence after his weekend Facebook live video rant. In that video Caputo, who has served as an advisor to both Russian Presidents Putin and Yeltsin, warned of a “deep state,” accused CDC scientists of “sedition,” and appeared to imply Democrats were guilty of murder.
Caputo on Tuesday apologized to staffers and hinted he would take a medical leave or resign.
On Wednesday, HHS announced he is taking a leave “to focus on his health and the well-being of his family.”
Caputo is a Republican political operative who worked of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He is known to be friends with Trump ally Roger Stone.
He was the subject of a Politico report last week that revealed he had forced CDC scientists to change what are considered “holy” reports about death in the U.S. to be more favorable to President Trump.
In the Facebook video, Caputo said, “I’m not going anywhere. They’re gonna have to kill me. And unfortunately, I think that’s where this is going.”
“There are scientists working for this government who do not want America to get better. Did you hear me? There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well until after Joe Biden is his president. It’s a fact. I know it because I’ve heard it.”
“They can, these people cannot, cannot allow America to get better, nor can they allow America to hear good news. It must be all bad news until after the election. Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, that’s sedition.”
“I’m under siege. It’s been going on for a couple of weeks. And I don’t care because I have the President’s support. I know that because he’s told me so.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story has been updated.