HHS official to take two-month leave following conspiracy rant


The top spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services is taking a leave of absence after apologizing for going on a viral rant lambasting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists.

According to CNN, the department announced today that Michael R. Caputo will take a leave after spreading baseless conspiracy theories over the weekend that CDC scientists are working to undermine President Donald Trump and accused them of “sedition.”

Read More: Trump health official goes on Twitter rant about conspiracy theories, armed revolt

House Intelligence Committee Meets With Former Trump Campaign Advisor Michael Caputo
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 14: Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Caputo resigned from being a Trump campaign communications advisor after appearing to celebrate the firing of former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Denying any contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, Caputo did live in Moscow during the 1990s, served as an adviser to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and did pro-Putin public relations work for the Russian conglomerate Gazprom Media. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In the Facebook live obtained by Yahoo News, Caputo, who is a political appointee of Trump, can be heard making the unfounded claims.

“These people cannot, cannot allow America to get better. Nor can they allow America to hear good news,” said Caputo. “It must be all bad news from now until the election. Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, that’s sedition.”

He goes on to say, “They are sacrificing lives in order to defeat Donald Trump. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s sedition. It’s also … you know, call it what you want, but when they let somebody get sick and die, there’s one word for that.”

Former Trump Campaign Official Michael Caputo To Be Interviewed By Senate Intelligence Committee Staffers
WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 01: Former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo (R) arrives with attorney Dennis C. Vacco at the Hart Senate Office building to be interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, on May 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. The committee is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

He also said that if Trump wins the election, Joe Biden will refuse to concede and cause political violence.

But on Wednesday, Caputo was singing a new tune. He apologized for his rant and says he has “learned.”

“I’ve learned so much in friendship with the doctors of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force,” said Caputo.  “Sometimes we disagree, but we work in unity to defeat the virus and we care for one another.”

Read More: Coronavirus killing more Black and Hispanic kids: CDC study

He continued, “I want to thank Dr. Tony Fauci for conferring with my personal physician as we get the health care I long needed, and yet neglected, through the pandemic.”

The Department of Health and Human Services also released a statement in regards to the rant.

“Today, the Department of Health and Human Services is announcing that HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo has decided to take a leave of absence to focus on his health and the well-being of his family. Mr. Caputo will be on leave for the next 60 days.”

Reports say during the leave Caputo will be seeking treatment for a lymphatic issue.

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