On Wednesday it was announced that the top spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services would be taking a leave of absence.
His announcement comes just days after he made a Facebook Live video promoting conspiracy theories.
In the Facebook Live video Mike Caputo, the assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS accused scientists at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of not wanting “America to get well.”
He also urged Trump supporters to stock up on weapons and ammunition and prepare for a left-wing rebellion if Trump wins reelection.
In the video, Caputo said that he was suffering from health issues and that his “mental health has definitely failed.”
The HHS announcement of Caputo’s leave of absence stated that he “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.”
A short time after the HHS announcement Caputo released a statement of his own saying that he was now under treatment for a recently discovered “lymphatic issue.” He added that the health issue “contributed to my stress level, along with the increasing number of violent threats leveled at me and my family back in Buffalo.”
Caputo was appointed by the White House back in April. He is a longtime Trump loyalist.
Caputo has no science background. He has been accused of trying to interfere with the CDC’s messaging about the virus.
Caputo repeatedly slammed CDC scientists in the Facebook video.
He claimed that some CDC scientists were involved in “sedition,” plotting “how they’re going to attack Donald Trump.”
“There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president,” Caputo said. “They’ve been pushing rotten science.”
On Tuesday, Caputo reportedly apologized to HHS staffers and shared that he was considering taking a leave of absence.
Also, on Tuesday, Secretary of Health Alex Azar sidestepped a question about the video.
“I’m not going to comment on somebody’s personal social media posts,” Azar said. “Michael Caputo has been a valued member of our coronavirus response team, but I’m not going to get into that. Those are his personal social media posts, and I’m not going to have more to say on that at this moment.”
In the video, Caputo alleged that “when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin.”
At one-point, Caputo stated that an unidentified “they” are “going to have to kill me.”
Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, who is the top Democrat on the health committee, called for Caputo’s resignation on Monday. He’s “a yes-man for President Trump with no scientific expertise who publicly attacked CDC scientists and privately interfered with key CDC reports,” Murray said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also spoke out about the strange situation and called for Azar to resign as well, saying he has been “entirely silent about the chaos and mismanagement” in the agency while failing to rein in “political appointees,” a reference to Caputo.
The White House replied to Schumer’s comments saying that Azar isn’t going anywhere.
“It’s stunning that the Democratic leader of the Senate would call for the resignation of the Health and Human Services secretary in the middle of a pandemic,” said White House spokesman Judd Deere.
You can view part of Caputo’s Facebook video below.