A senior Trump official raised brows after going on a conspiracy thinking Twitter rant accusing government scientists of engaging in “sedition” in their handling of the pandemic.
According to the New York Times, Sunday, in a since-deleted social media rant, Michael R. Caputo, assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, accused the CDC of having a covert “resistance unit” meant to undermine President Donald Trump.
Given that he is a top communications official responsible for shaping communications around the coronavirus, his late-night claims amidst a rising death toll caused alarm.
“If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get,” he urged his followers in his message.
“I don’t like being alone in Washington,” Caputo went on, describing “shadows on the ceiling in my apartment, there alone, shadows are so long.”
Although almost 200,000 people in the United States have passed away due to the virus, Caputo still urged people to attend Trump rallies, although he did concede that they should wear masks. Early Monday he took things a step further and suggested tear gassing all journalists, Fox News reported.
Following the backlash, he deleted his Twitter account, and the Department of Health and Human Services released a statement explaining, “Mr. Caputo is a critical, integral part of the president’s coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In his own statement Monday, Caputo told The Times: “Since joining the administration, my family and I have been continually threatened” and harassed by people who have later been prosecuted. “This weighs heavily on us, and we deeply appreciate the friendship and support of President Trump as we address these matters and keep our children safe.”
Poltico reports that he has issued an apology, telling staffers that his series of false accusations reflected poorly on their team and that his physical health issues along with the toll of death threats against his family caused him to act outside of his character.
He also acknowledged that he’s never read any of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, despite his department’s ongoing efforts to try to edit those documents.
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