BUFFALO, NY – Michael Caputo, assistant secretary for public affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has apologized to his staff after a recent Facebook Live video in which he accused scientists at the Centers for Disease Control of plotting against President Trump and spoke of potential violence after the upcoming election in November.
Caputo reportedly presented a Facebook Live video on his personal account on Sunday, September 13. His Facebook account has since been taken down, so the video in its entirety is not available for public viewing.
An edited version can be viewed at this link, embedded in a Yahoo news article.
NEW: We have the Michael Caputo video from Facebook Live.
— Alexander Nazaryan (@alexnazaryan) September 16, 2020
In the video, Caputo stated:
“The partisan Democrats, the conjugal media, and the scientists, the Deep State scientists want America sick through November.”
He went on to say:
“Let me tell you something, there is tons of positive news out there about this pandemic. And the Democrats can’t have it, their conjugal media can’t have it, and there are scientists working for this government who do not want America to get better . . .
“There are scientists working for this government who do not want America to get well, not until Joe Biden is president. It’s a fact. I know it, because I’ve heard it.”
“These people cannot – cannot – allow America to get better. Nor can they allow America to hear good news. It must be all bad news from now until the election. Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, that’s sedition. They are sacrificing lives in order to beat Donald Trump.”
On a more personal note, Caputo spoke in the video of how speaking of “dead Americans” every day “weighs heavily” on him, and added:
“I don’t want to talk about death anymore.”
He added that his physical and mental health were “failing,” though in a later CBS interview he rolled back his words to say that “failed” was inaccurate and “challenged” was a more appropriate term, calling his mental health “strong.”
Additional statements purportedly from the video are also available from the New York Times, which broke the story of the video without sharing the video itself.
The Times states that Caputo warned of violence after the election, predicting that Trump would win, but that Biden would refuse to concede.
Caputo reportedly added:
“And when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin.
He went on to say,
“The drills you have seen are nothing.”
According to the Epoch Times, Caputo then advised his listeners:
“If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.”
After news broke of his Facebook Live video, Caputo apologized to staffers for his statements, and it has just been announced that he will be taking a 60 day leave of absence.
BREAKING: Michael Caputo, a top Trump administration communications official, is taking a leave of absence from HHS after making unsubstantiated claims about CDC scientists. https://t.co/pc0JlnNoeB
— ABC News (@ABC) September 16, 2020
Congressional Democrats who have called for Caputo’s dismissal after his video aired would likely be pleased with this development.
For example, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has stated:
“It is clear Secretary Azar cannot 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.”
The “(interference) with key CDC reports” of which Murray speaks is one reason Caputo was already under fire from Democrats before he recorded his Facebook video.
According to a Politico report, after Caputo was appointed the spokesperson for the HHS in April:
“(T)here have been substantial efforts to align the (CDC’s weekly Morbidity and Mortality Reports) with Trump’s statements, including the president’s claims that fears about the outbreak are overstated, or stop the reports altogether.”
Citing information from “individuals familiar with the situation,” Politico also claimed that Caputo and his staff:
“. . . have attempted to add caveats to the CDC’s findings, including an effort to retroactively change agency reports that they said wrongly inflated the risks of Covid-19 and should have made clear that Americans sickened by the virus may have been infected because of their own behavior.”
For his part, according to Politico, Caputo reportedly accused CDC scientists of using the Morbidity and Mortality reports to “hurt the President.”
Caputo added to CBS News:
“Our intention is to make sure that evidence, science-based data drives policy through this pandemic — not ulterior deep state motives in the bowels of CDC.”
The Politico story has led to an investigation by House Democrats into the alleged interference with CDC’s MMWR reports. They have called for testimony from Caputo and several other HHS staffers.
House Democrats launch investigation into alleged political interference in CDC reports, are seeking testimony from 7 HHS officials, including Michael Caputo, the agency's spokesman, and Paul Alexander, his senior adviser. https://t.co/knNkDtpjlJ via @CBSPolitics
— Jon Spangler #VoteBlue #BidenHarris (@jonmspangler) September 14, 2020
Caputo’s present leave of absence is reported by WBEN radio to be “medical.”
Caputo has also told WBEN that he had a “health scare” that requires tests, but that he does not plan to resign his position.
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Here’s our previous report on a public figure who evidently took pleasure in the coronavirus hurting Trump:
We are so happy that MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace is happy.
While nearly 1 million of her fellow American citizens have been sickened with COVID 19, and nearly 55,000 are dead, Wallace says there is a “silver lining.”
Yup, despite all of the sickness and dying, Wallace is thrilled that the viral outbreak may end up damaging President Trump. During a panel discussion, Wallace said of President Trump:
“There is something both tragic, and pathetic, and ironic about the fact that it took a, you know, color-blind, gender blind, you know, state line-blind virus to sort of have all of the president’s sins from his first three years catch up with him.
“You can’t stand there and lie. You can’t contradict your scientists because they’re the ones that stand at 66 and 68 percent public trust, not you. He’s down at 38 percent. Pence is lower than him.”
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) April 24, 2020
Ahhh, we get it . . . it is about the poll numbers.
Perhaps Wallace might want to take another look at a poll not conducted by MSNBC.
According to The Hill, a Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll found the president’s job approval rating at 49 percent, which is the highest it has been in that poll since March, 2017.
In addition, 56 percent of voters approved of Trump’s handling of the economy and a majority—51 percent—approved of his handling of the coronavirus. Poll Director Mark Penn said:
“President Trump continues a slow, steady improvement in his job ratings over the last six months and through the crisis.
“People still give him high marks in the economy, but also back his handling in immigration, terrorism, and running the government to a growing extent along with his response to the virus.”
Penn continued, “His chances of reelection are exponentially higher at 49 than when he was at 44 job approval. His personal style, not his actions, continue to hold him back.”
The poll conducted an online survey of 2,394 registered voters and was conducted April 14-16.
The survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and is weighted to reflect known demographics. Since this particular poll is a representative online sample, it does not report a confidence level, The Hill said.
Wallace went on:
“I mean, he needs those people whether he likes what they say or not and I wonder what you think about whether or not there’s some silver lining there, that some of the things that, that we’ve been talking about for three years may finally be catching up with him?”
Of course, this is MSNBC, so Wallace had on Ron Klain, the former so-called “Ebola czar” under President Obama and a Biden supporter.
He responded to Wallace by saying that a leader would “tell the American people the truth,” while touting Obama’s “honesty” to the country of the “bad news” that was ahead during the Ebola outbreak. Klain said:
“When President Trump stands up yesterday and says, ‘There will not be a second wave,’ he is denying the inevitable.
“If you look at the history of epidemics, there’s always a second wave and a third wave. The idea that there’s a smooth curve up and a smooth curve down is wrong.”
Klain later added:
“And so when the disease does come back this fall, will President Trump try to tell us again, ‘No one saw it coming, who could have possibly foreseen that?’
That argument, which is a false argument now, is going to look like a ridiculous argument in the fall when he stood in the briefing room and tried to spar with his own health officials about the scientific indefinability that this virus will be back.”
According to ABC news, Trump never said that the virus “wasn’t coming back” as has been predicted by some advisers, including Dr. Anthony Fauci.
ABC news notes that the president said:
“You could have some embers of corona and a big flu system, and if they coming and come together, it’s not great, but we will not go through what we went through for the last two months…
It might not come back at all. He’s talking about a worst-case scenario where you have a big flu and you have some corona.”
“We will have coronavirus in the fall. I am convinced of that because of the degree of transmissibility that it has, the global nature. What happens with that will depend on how we are able to contain it when it occurs.”
So, the president equivocated when he said it “might not come back at all,” but he certainly did not say that the coronavirus would “not be back under any circumstances.” He did note that “you could have some embers of corona…” He did not say “there will not be a second wave.”
Democrats hear what they want to hear.
The problem is some people equate President Trump’s optimism with dismissiveness. He has acknowledged the severity of the virus on multiple occasions, but he is not trying to take a “woe is me” approach. That is what you want from a leader.
When Islamic terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, if MSNBC were around, would they have expected President Bush to come out and give a speech and say, “We’re doomed?” President Bush was resolute in the face of a national tragedy.
When Bush learned about the planes striking the World Trade Center, here is what he said:
“Today, we’ve had a national tragedy. Two airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center in an apparent terrorist attack on our country.
“I have spoken to the Vice President, to the Governor of New York, to the Director of the FBI and have ordered the full resources of the federal government go to help the victims and their families, and—and to conduct a full-scale investigation to hunt down and to find those folks who committed this act.
“Terrorism against our nation will not stand.”
Resolute. Firm. In command. Hopeful.
That is what President Trump is trying to do. He may not be the most skillful communicator, but he is attempting to show leadership, asking questions, trying to get things moving forward, knowing that the current situation in our country with millions out of work and hundreds of thousands of businesses shuttered can not stand.
People who are going to hate Trump are going to hate him. He could literally cure cancer and the left, including Nicolle Wallace, would criticize him for putting oncologists out of work.
So, Ms. Wallace, we are so happy that you are glad there is a “silver lining” in tens of thousands of deaths, millions ill, tens of millions out of work, and our economy in a position that will take years to recover from. All because YOU do not like the president.
How do people like you sleep at night?
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