Caputo — a fierce defender of the President who was appointed to his publish as assistant secretary of public affairs for HHS not lengthy after the coronavirus pandemic started — talked about a sequence of conspiracy theories in a Sunday stay video on his private Facebook web page, together with that there’s a “resistance unit” in opposition to Trump contained in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Caputo claimed that he thinks former Vice President Joe Biden will refuse to concede the election ought to Trump win, and political violence will ensue.
A supply acquainted with the matter mentioned Caputo portrayed himself as a sufferer in his apology, however apologized for placing HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a foul gentle.
Caputo’s standing at HHS is unsure at this level and he was already treading on skinny ice on the company earlier than the revelations about his feedback on Facebook, a second supply acquainted with the scenario mentioned. It is unclear whether or not any motion to transfer Caputo out of his present place is imminent, that supply added, however discussions concerning Caputo’s future are ongoing. The first supply mentioned Caputo didn’t convey up his future within the apology.
A 3rd supply acquainted with the matter mentioned Caputo apologized to HHS staff Tuesday morning as a result of he had embarrassed them, significantly profession officers, and he felt badly about it. He additionally apologized to Azar on Tuesday for placing the secretary ready of having to take care of the fallout of Caputo’s remarks, the supply mentioned.
The supply added that it is doable Caputo will take a depart of absence to handle a medical situation, however a ultimate choice has not been made.
A supply shut to the White House coronavirus activity pressure mentioned Azar has been sad for a while with Caputo as deputy secretary. The supply shut to the White House mentioned Caputo, who’s a longtime Trump political operative, was compelled upon Azar and the most recent controversy possible will not assist his standing with the secretary.
During his Sunday broadside, Caputo lambasted the CDC, baselessly claiming that scientists “deep in the bowels of the CDC have given up science and become political animals.”
The scientists “haven’t gotten out of their sweatpants except for meetings at coffee shops” to plot “how they’re going to attack Donald Trump next,” Caputo added.
Caputo asserted that he was underneath assault by the media, that his bodily well being was in query and that his “mental health has definitely failed.” The Times reported that he “sounded anguished” over the nation’s coronavirus dying toll — which has reached greater than 195,000 lifeless, in accordance to information from Johns Hopkins University. He warned folks within the video to put on masks when attending the President’s marketing campaign rallies.
Caputo additionally mentioned he anticipated to keep in his place as a result of the President supported him.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Caputo mentioned within the video. “I swear to God, as God is my witness, I am not stopping.”
Caputo declined to focus on the matter any additional in a short cellphone interview with CNN later Monday, besides to say he made the feedback as he was coping with some of the stress brought on by harassment to himself and his household during the last a number of days. He added that harassment included what he deemed to be dying threats.
The fall-out following his Facebook rant Sunday is one of twin controversies encircling Caputo. A federal well being official instructed CNN Saturday that amid pressure between the administration and the CDC, Caputo and his workforce had demanded to see weekly science studies from the CDC earlier than they’re launched.
Officials inside HHS had defended the demand, saying the CDC fell underneath the company’s umbrella and that each one communications and public paperwork wanted to be cleared on the high.
This story has been up to date with extra reporting Tuesday.
CNN’s Caroline Kelly, Devan Cole, Nick Valencia and Kristen Holmes contributed to this report.