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Trump appointee Michael Caputo takes leave of absence from HHS after online rant


Trump appointee Michael Caputo takes leave of absence from HHS after online rant

Michael Caputo, a top Trump administration communications official who in a private online social media video accused government scientists of “sedition” and called on the president’s supporters to arm themselves ahead of the election, announced in a statement Tuesday that he’s taking temporary medical leave from the Department of Health and Human Services.Also leaving HHS…

Trump appointee Michael Caputo takes leave of absence from HHS after online rant

Also leaving HHS is Caputo’s senior advisor, Dr. Paul Alexander. HHS verified the departures in a different statement, noting that Caputo’s leave would last 60 days.

Caputo informs ABC News he will continue gathering an income and health insurance from his HHS post while on leave.

The personnel departures follow media reports that Caputo and Alexander had actually pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to modify scientific reports.

On Sunday, in a personal Facebook Live video, Caputo– a one-time 2016 Trump campaign aide who does not have any prior experience in public health– accused government researchers of harboring a “resistance system” at the CDC and anticipated there would be shootings on inauguration day. He went on to state he was under siege by the media, including that his physical health was in concern and his “psychological health has actually definitely stopped working.”

” After assessment with President Trump and Secretary Azar, I have actually decided to take a short-term medical leave of absence to pursue necessary screenings for a lymphatic concern found last week,” Caputo wrote in a declaration launched to the press on Wednesday.

” Sometimes we disagree, however we work in unity to beat the infection and we look after one another,” Caputo composed.

Dr. Robert Redfield, head of CDC, affirmed prior to a Senate panel on Wednesday that he was “deeply saddened” to check out of what he stated were unfounded accusations.

In a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Redfield, who did not recommendation Caputo by name in his testament, stated that there was no reality to the claims.

” I wish to make a comment that not just is it not true, it deeply distresses me when I read those remarks,” Redifield, a Trump appointee, told Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

” As I stated in my declaration, CDC is comprised of thousands of dedicated males and females, extremely skilled It is the leading public health firm on the planet, devoted 24 -7 to utilize their abilities to protect the American public and the world. And it deeply saddened me that those incorrect allegations were made (about) a group of actually amazingly professional people that serve this nation,” he included.

Murray said she was deeply worried about the accusations, as well as recent media reports that political appointees had leaned on the CDC to alter scientific findings.

Redfield denied that the CDC had actually ever allowed its findings to be affected by politics.

Adm. Brett Giroir, an HHS official appointed by Trump to coordinate screening efforts, likewise safeguarded the CDC.

When asked by Murray if Giroir declines “the unproven damaging conspiracy theory” that CDC has “deep state ulterior motives,” Giroir reacted: “I have not seen anything out of CDC … any of the companies I have actually dealt with that is anything however people acting in the very best interests of the American individuals. I have actually currently not seen anything that you described.”

At one point, Murray likewise asked Redfield if he had actually ever encouraged Trump to downplay the crisis. In a recently launched book by The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward called “Rage,” Trump states he knew the virus was a lot more lethal than the flu although he dismissed those findings in public. The president has because stated he didn’t desire to create a panic.

” No one encouraged the president to downplay this crisis,” Redfield stated Wednesday.

When asked if Azar believes in Caputo, an HHS representative informed ABC News earlier today in a declaration, “Mr. Caputo is an important, important part of the president’s coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health details to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

ABC News’ Stephanie Ebbs and Trish Turner added to this report.

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This report was featured in the Thursday, Sept 17, 2020, episode of “Start Here,” ABC News’ everyday news podcast.

” Start Here” provides a straightforward look at the day’s leading stories in 20 minutes. Listen for complimentary every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, the ABC News app or wherever you get your podcasts.

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