HHS says spokesman will take a two-month 'leave of absence' following apology for conspiracy-laden rant

HHS says spokesman will take a two-month 'leave of absence' following apology for conspiracy-laden rant

Washington (CNN) Michael Caputo, the top spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services, is taking a two-month leave of absence from his post, the department announced Wednesday, a day after he apologized for a conspiracy theory-laden rant he made against career government scientists in which he accused them of "sedition" and working to undermine President Donald Trump. "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," HHS said in a statement. The temporary departure comes as concerns grow at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over perceived attempts, and specifically Caputo's role, in politicizing the critical health agency amid the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement, Caputo said he was going to undergo "necessary screenings for a lymphatic issue discovered last week." Caputo apologized on Tuesday to HHS staff for comments he made Sunday during an extended rant on a Facebook Live video in which he mentioned a series of conspiracy theories, including that there is a "resistance unit" against Trump inside the CDC and that former Vice President Joe Biden will refuse to concede the election should Trump win, leading to political violence. "These people cannot, cannot allow America to get better. Nor can they allow America to hear good news. It must be all bad news from now until ...
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