Recently-appointed HHS spokesperson, Michael Caputo, went on a wild rant over social media to plant a number of bizarre ideas in Americans’ minds as the partisan Coronavirus messaging wars intensify.
Broadcasting over Facebook Live this past Sunday, public relations specialist and Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Public Affairs, Michael Caputo, painted a dramatic picture of threats and coercion by federal officials, left-wing “hit squads” who are “being trained all over the country” to prevent another Trump presidency and the deterioration of his own mental health.
Caputo’s public meltdown comes on the heels of a broader clash going on behind the scenes between officials at HHS and the CDC over coronavirus messaging, in which Caputo, along with advisor Paul Alexander and others, seek to “align” the CDC’s weekly Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR) with Trump’s pandemic messaging by altering or modifying the scientific data, or stopping the reports from coming out altogether.
The reports are used to determine who’s at the highest risk from week-to-week. According to Jennifer Kates of the Kaiser Family Foundation, they are the “go-to” resource for the public health community to obtain “scientifically vetted” information, but emails sent by Caputo’s team to CDC director Dr. Robert Redfieldin early August complain about how the agency’s reports “undermine President Donald Trump’s optimistic messages about the outbreak.” Attempts were subsequently made to “add caveats to the CDC’s findings” and make retroactive changes to reports dealing with risks of Covid-19, which the HHS spokesman characterized as “wrongly inflated.”
One of Caputo’s recruits at HHS, assistant professor of health research at McMaster University in Canada, Paul Alexander, called for an “immediate stop” to the publication of the CDC reports, which have played an essential role in U.S. epidemic messaging since the first report on HIV in 1981, until he had personally reviewed the entire report and be allowed to make inline edits, per Politico. Alexander questioned the definition of “pediatric population” in an upcoming report that lists 18-20 year-olds in that demographic, which the professor says is “misleading” and tantamount to hit pieces on the administration.” Alexander also called on Redfield to modify two already published reports. The “CDC tried to report as if once kids get together, there will be spread and this will impact school re-opening . . . Very misleading by CDC and shame on them. Their aim is clear,” Alexander stated.
Caputo’s most incendiary remarks on his social media rant involve the aforementioned “hit squads,” which are supposed to unleash a civil war of sorts at the forthcoming presidential inauguration. While Caputo asserts a secret militia of left-wing radicals are in the process of staging a coup in America, efforts are underway by another Trump appointee at the Department of Homeland Security, DHS, where acting director Chad Wolff has been trying to suppress a report prepared by the agency, itself, identifying right-wing, white supremacist groups as the “primary terrorist threat” to the United States, in addition to changing the focus of intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference in the United States to interference activities by China and Iran, according to a whistleblower complaint.
“Lone offenders and small cells of individuals motivated by a diverse array of social, ideological, and personal factors will pose the primary terrorist threat to the United States. Among these groups, we assess that white supremacist extremists – who increasingly are networking with like-minded persons abroad – will pose the most persistent and lethal threat.” So reads a draft of the DHS document that Chad Wolff is accused of downplaying a whistleblower reprisal complaint submitted by the former head of Homeland Security’s intelligence division, Brian Murphy. Murphy is participating in an ongoing investigation by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence into DHS and the Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).
In a statement following the release of the letter calling Mr. Murphy to testify before the committee, Schiff proclaimed that “senior White House and Department of Homeland Security officials improperly sought to politicize, manipulate, and censor intelligence in order to benefit President Trump politically.” Schiff was a pivotal figure in the impeachment hearings of 2018 that sought to convict Trump of collusion with Russian assets to fix the 2016 election.
Caputo, himself is considered a “minor figure” in the Russiagate scandal as the individual who referred a Russian who claimed to have dirt on Hillary Clinton to Roger Stone, whose 40-year sentence for obstruction of justice and other charges was commuted in July. Stone was one of Caputo’s 5,000+ Facebook Friends watching on Sunday.
There will be blood
Caputo told viewers that “they’re going to have to kill [him],” adding that he and his family have been “continually threatened” ever since joining the Administration. Nevertheless, he assured that he’s not “going anywhere,” announcing that Trump had put him in charge of a $250 million public service advertising campaign to attract more minority volunteers for clinical trials of potential Covid-19 vaccines.”
Calls for the resignation of the author of “The Ukraine Hoax” were made almost immediately by the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Patty Murray (D-WA). The question will, no doubt, be posed today at an open hearing to review the Department of Health and Human Services’ coronavirus response efforts by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, which has called Dr. Robert Redfield of the CDC, ASPR Robert Kadlec and Admiral Brett Giroir of the HHS to testify Wednesday morning.
Michael A. Caputo, who Senator Murray called “a yes-man for President Trump with no scientific expertise,” claimed on his Facebook Live broadcast that “there are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president.” He proceeded to deactivate both his Facebook and Twitter accounts soon after that. But, not before leaving his 850 viewers with a portentous warning that “the shooting will begin” when Donald Trump refuses to step down after November.
Feature photo | Michael Caputo, left, joined by his attorney Dennis C. Vacco, leaves after being interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee staff investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, on Capitol Hill in Washington. J. Scott Applewhite | AP
Raul Diego is a MintPress News Staff Writer, independent photojournalist, researcher, writer and documentary filmmaker.