HHS says spokesman will take a two-month ‘leave of absence’ following apology for conspiracy-laden rant

HHS says spokesman will take a two-month ‘leave of absence’ following apology for conspiracy-laden rant

Michael Caputo, the top spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services, is taking a two-month leave of absence from his post, the department announced Wednesday, a day after he apologized for a conspiracy theory-laden rant he made against career government scientists in which he accused them of “sedition” and working to undermine President Donald Trump.

“Today, the Department of Health and Human Services is announcing that HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo has decided to take a leave of absence to focus on his health and the well-being of his family. Mr. Caputo will be on leave for the next 60 days,” HHS said in a statement.

Caputo apologized on Tuesday to HHS staff for comments he made Sunday during an extended rant on a Facebook Live video in which he mentioned a series of conspiracy theories, including that there is a “resistance unit” against Trump inside the CDC and that former Vice President Joe Biden will refuse to concede the election should Trump win, leading to political violence.

In video obtained and edited for length by Yahoo News, Caputo, a fierce defender of Trump who was installed at the department earlier this year by the President, can be heard going on a diatribe against staff at the critical health agency.

“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,” Caputo said during the rant, which was broadcast live from his personal Facebook page on Sunday.

“They are sacrificing lives in order to defeat Donald Trump. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s sedition. It’s also … you know, call it what you want, but when they let somebody get sick and die, there’s one word for that,” he said.

Caputo also said that “partisan Democrats, the conjugal media, and the scientists, the deep state scientists want America sick through November. They cannot afford for us to have any good news before November because they are already losing.”

A source familiar with the matter said Caputo portrayed himself as a victim in his apology on Tuesday, but apologized for putting HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a bad light.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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