Caputo — a fierce defender of the President who was appointed to his post as assistant secretary of public affairs for HHS not long after the coronavirus pandemic began — mentioned a series of conspiracy theories in a Sunday live video on his personal Facebook page, including that there is a “resistance unit” against Trump inside the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Caputo claimed that he thinks former Vice President Joe Biden will refuse to concede the election should Trump win, and political violence will ensue.
A source familiar with the matter said Caputo portrayed himself as a victim in his apology, but apologized for putting HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a bad light.
Caputo’s status at HHS is uncertain at this point and he was already treading on thin ice at the agency before the revelations about his comments on Facebook, a second source familiar with the situation said. It is unclear whether any action to move Caputo out of his current position is imminent, that source added, but discussions regarding Caputo’s future are ongoing. The first source said Caputo did not bring up his future in the apology.
A third source familiar with the situation said Caputo is dealing with potential health issues that could force him to step aside. Politico was first to report on Caputo’s apology and The New York Times was first to report that he is considering a leave of absence.
A source close to the White House coronavirus task force said Azar has been unhappy for some time with Caputo as deputy secretary. The source close to the White House said Caputo, who is a longtime Trump political operative, was forced upon Azar and the latest controversy likely won’t help his standing with the secretary.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.