The health agencies associated with the U.S. Government have long, at least had the appearance, of being bi-partisan, but that has ended in the Trump era. And now conspiracy theories are penetrating the very agencies Americans look toward for guidance in health-related matters, such as coronavirus. Now one person trusted with communications on COVID-19 is politicizing the office in a bizarre series of social media rants. The New York Times reports that “Michael R. Caputo told a Facebook audience without evidence that left-wing hit squads were being trained for insurrection and accused C.D.C. scientists of ‘sedition.'”
The Washington Post adds that Caputo, an assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, even started questioning his own sanity in the video:
In the Facebook video, Caputo criticizes government career scientists, the media and Democrats, the Times reported and Caputo confirmed. He said he was under attack by the media and that his “mental health has definitely failed.”
“I don’t like being alone in Washington,” Caputo said in the video, describing “shadows on the ceiling in my apartment, there alone, shadows are so long.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 15, 2020
As if the Facebook video wasn’t bizarre enough, Caputo, a Trump loyalist, also went on Twitter writing a series of wild posts. Bloomberg reports “he suggested tear-gassing reporters and tangled with other users on the site.”
Caputo, in tweets from his Twitter-verified personal account, said “gas all of them” while commenting on a post from a self-described journalist who had published a video saying they were about to be tear-gassed. In a second tweet, Caputo described another Twitter using an epithet for a feminine hygiene product, adding “you have four followers.”
Caputo later deleted his Twitter account.
Now countless people are calling on Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to get rid of Caputo. That includes Senator Patty Murray who said, “If Secretary Azar believes his responsibility is to the American public and not to President Trump, he should demand Michael A. Caputo’s resignation today.” The Washington state Democrat writes:
It’s clear Sec. Azar can’t meet his basic responsibilities while allowing Caputo, a yes-man for President Trump with no scientific expertise who publicly attacked CDC scientists & privately interfered with key CDC reports, to continue serving in such an influential role.
Secretary Azar has a basic responsibility to ensure our public health experts are able to do their jobs, our COVID-19 response is not undermined by misinformation or conspiracy theories, and the data used to inform our efforts is free of political interference.
MSNBC pieced together everything you should know about Caputo’s antics. Watch the video above.