A senior Trump administration official went on a Facebook rant over the weekend, in which he accused U.S. government scientists of “sedition” and claimed left-wing hit squads are gearing up to kill him and other supporters of the president.
Michael Caputo, the recently installed top spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, made the statements in a since-deleted video posted to his personal Facebook page on Sunday.
Caputo, without any evidence, told his Facebook followers that scientists “deep in the bowels” of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are orchestrating a “resistance unit” against President Donald Trump by sabotaging the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president,” Caputo said.
Caputo — who’s under scrutiny amid reports that he has been putting pressure on CDC officials to alter public health bulletins to fit Trump’s fact-challenged claims about the virus — even suggested his own life could be at risk.
“You understand that they’re going to have to kill me, and unfortunately, I think that’s where this is going,” he said.
The HHS spokesman, who worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign and has a long history of controversial social media posts, also urged supporters to stock up on weapons ahead of November’s election because he claimed violence will erupt.
“When Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin,” he said. “The drills that you’ve seen are nothing. … If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.”
HHS, which has a $1.3 trillion budget and numerous subdivisions, spearheads the Trump administration’s widely criticized response to the pandemic, which has already killed nearly 200,000 Americans.
As the public health agency’s top spokesman, Caputo is responsible for much of its public messaging on the coronavirus.
Toward the tail-end of his Sunday video, Caputo said his “mental health has definitely failed” amid the recent media attention sparked by his alleged interference with the CDC bulletins.
“I don’t like being alone in Washington,” he said. “Shadows on the ceiling in my apartment, there alone, shadows are so long.”
His Facebook video was first reported by The New York Times.
Captor declined to comment on the substance of his video on Monday, but suggested he’s been under mental duress since joining the administration.
“My family and I have been continually threatened and in and out of criminal court dealing with harassment prosecutions,” he said in a text message. “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.”
Earlier in the day, Caputo deactivated his private Twitter account, as his Facebook video claims stirred outrage.
Before scrubbing his Twitter handle, though, Caputo posted a number of defiant posts, including one that said: “I’m Effective. Get used to it.”
Caputo’s been in hot water over his social media posts before.
When he was first hired at HHS in April, Caputo made damning headlines as it was revealed that he had posted a series of racist tweets about Chinese people and COVID-19. He ended up deleting most of those tweets.
©2020 New York Daily News