Michael Caputo, the Health and Human Services spokesman who accused government scientists of leading a rebellion against President Trump, will take a 60-day medical leave, the department announced Wednesday.
“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,” the department said in a statement.
The longtime GOP operative was forced to apologize on Tuesday after he made a series of bizarre and troubling comments in a live video on his private Facebook page.
Without providing evidence, Caputo claimed that scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were harboring a “resistance unit” to undermine Trump, and warned of an armed uprising if the president lost the election.
The former Trump campaign official said scientists at the agency “haven’t gotten out of their sweatpants except for meetings at coffee shops” to plot “how they’re going to attack Donald Trump next,” the New York Times reported.
“There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president,” Caputo continued, accusing them of “sedition.”
The 58-year-old, who was appointed to the HHS role in April at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, also made troubling remarks about his mental health and suggested the role had taken a huge toll on him.
He said his mental health had “definitely failed” and claimed he had been repeatedly threatened since taking the job.
“You understand that they’re going to have to kill me, and unfortunately, I think that’s where this is going,” he told his followers during the 26-minute broadside.
Paul Alexander, Caputo’s science adviser, will also be permanently departing HHS amid allegations he altered the CDC weekly COVID-19 reports, the department said.