Trump appointee to take leave after rant likening CDC scientists to 'resistance'
A Trump health appointee is taking a leave of absence after allegations of political interference in the federal coronavirus response, followed by a personal video that warned of election violence and all but equated science with resistance.
Michael Caputo has decided to take 60 days “to focus on his health and the well-being of his family”, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.
Fiercely loyal to Donald Trump, Caputo had been serving as the department’s top spokesman, a post that usually is not overtly political. He was installed by the White House in April during a period of tense relations with the president’s health secretary, Alex Azar.
Caputo, who has no healthcare background, was the subject of news reports last weekend that he tried to gain editorial control over a scientific weekly published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That was followed by reports about a video he hosted on his Facebook page in which he likened government scientists to a “resistance” against Trump and warned that shooting would break out if Trump won the election and Democrat Joe Biden refused to concede.
Caputo’s declarations came as Azar and other top healthcare officials are trying to convince skeptical Americans that science will have the final say in the approval of coronavirus vaccines. Senator Patty Murray, a Washington state Democrat, had called for his resignation; Republican senators remained publicly silent.
Caputo’s short tenure has been marked by devotion to Trump, disdain for Democrats and the media ...
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