Top HHS Aide Takes Leave After Facebook Rant

Caputo 'has decided to take a leave of absence to focus on his health'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2020 3:54 PM CDT
Top HHS Aide Takes Leave After Facebook Rant
In this May 1, 2018, photo, formet Trump campaign official Michael Caputo leaves after being interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee staff investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

A top Department of Health and Human Services aide who aired numerous conspiracy theories in a Facebook Live rant will be on leave for the next 60 days, the department says. Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign official appointed as chief HHS spokesperson in April, "has decided to take a leave of absence to focus on his health and the well-being of his family," the department said Wednesday, per NBC. On Sunday, Caputo accused CDC scientists of "sedition" and said people should "buy ammunition" because "the shooting will begin" after Joe Biden refuses to concede the election. He also said his mental health was "failing."

In a statement Wednesday, Caputo said he plans to "pursue necessary screenings for a lymphatic issue discovered last week." The 58-year-old, who reportedly apologized to HHS staffers Tuesday, said failing to see a doctor about the issue sooner " was a mistake, and contributed to my stress level, along with the increasing number of violent threats leveled at me and my family back in Buffalo." Politico reports that Caputo's science adviser, Paul Alexander, will also be leaving the department. Alexander was heavily involved in Caputo's department's efforts to alter CDC reports on the coronavirus and control what Dr. Anthony Fauci said to the media. (More Michael Caputo stories.)

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