Ex-NY GOP strategist Michael Caputo apologizes for Facebook tirade

Henrietta Brewer
September 16, 2020

Several current and former officials said the recent controversies engulfing Caputo threatened a crucial public relations campaign to win public trust in a coronavirus vaccine that has already been highly politicized. "The drills that you've seen are nothing".

In a Facebook video over the weekend, Caputo said some federal scientists were working to undermine President Donald Trump and said he feared for his life.

"It is clear Secretary Azar can not meet his basic responsibilities while allowing Michael A. Caputo, a yes-man for President Trump with no scientific expertise who publicly attacked CDC scientists and privately interfered with key CDC reports, to continue serving in such an influential role", Murray continued. During the meeting, Caputo made allusions to the fact that HHS had functioned for a long time in the past without a permanent top communications official.

Democrats called for his resignation on Monday - and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) called for Azar's resignation on Tuesday - after The Washington Post and others reported how Caputo and a top aide, Paul Alexander, attempted to interfere in the weekly scientific missives produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, known as the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports.

"This weighs heavily on us and we deeply appreciate the friendship and support of President Trump as we address these matters and keep our children safe", he said.

Politico reported that the meeting left some HHS staffers under the impression that he would resign as the department's assistant secretary for public affairs, citing three people with knowledge of the meeting.

During his broadside, Caputo took aim at the CDC, claiming without evidence that scientists "deep in the bowels of the CDC have given up science and become political animals".

Those scientists "haven't gotten out of their sweatpants except for meetings at coffee shops" to plot "how they're going to attack Donald Trump", Mr Caputo alleged.

The panel is requesting interviews with seven officials from the CDC and the Department of Health, including Mr Caputo. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Trump has repeatedly downplayed the significance of the virus, sometimes contradicting his own White House task force doctors.

Although CDC officials have resisted the most widespread demands and continued to publish the reports, they have increasingly allowed Caputo and his staff to review draft reports and even changed some of the wording.

During the video on Sunday, Caputo said he expected to stay in his position because the President supported him. He went on to say that the US's mounting COVID-19 death toll has affected him, telling viewers, "You are not waking up every morning and talking about dead Americans".

Democrats, in turn, have accused the Trump administration of sidelining experts in its messaging on the pandemic.

Caputo also made a slew of crude and sexist comments toward women in a series of now-deleted tweets.

Other reports by iNewsToday