The top communications official at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) accused career government scientists of plotting against President Trump and told Trump supporters to arm themselves ahead of the November presidential election.
In a Facebook Live video on Sunday, HHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Michael Caputo said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was harboring a “resistance unit” to Trump, The New York Times reported.
The career scientists “haven’t gotten out of their sweatpants except for meetings at coffee shops” to plot “how they’re going to attack Donald Trump,” Caputo said, according to the Times. “There are scientists who work for this government who do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president.”
Caputo reportedly hosted the event for followers of his personal Facebook page. His comments came after Politico first reported on Friday that top political HHS appointees have been interfering with the publication of CDC’s reports on the coronavirus pandemic. One of those officials named was former McMaster professor Paul Alexander who Caputo said was the first person he hired after taking over communications as head of communications. Alexander got to work quickly, demanding that he be allowed to vet all reports being released by the CDC. In an email examined by Politico he wrote, “CDC to me appears to be writing hit pieces on the administration,” . He called on CDC director Redfield to modify two already published reports that Alexander claimed wrongly inflated the risks of coronavirus to children and undermined Trump’s push to reopen schools. “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.”
Reported Politico, “Alexander also called on Redfield to halt all future reports until the agency modified its years-old publication process so he could personally review the entire report prior to publication, rather than a brief synopsis. “The reports must be read by someone outside of CDC like myself, and we cannot allow the reporting to go on as it has been, for it is outrageous. Its lunacy,” Alexander told Redfield and other officials. “Nothing to go out unless I read and agree with the findings how they CDC, wrote it and I tweak it to ensure it is fair and balanced and ‘complete.’”
Top House Democrats have now launched an investigation into the matter.
According to the Times, Caputo also warned Trump’s followers to be prepared for an armed insurrection, predicting the president would win but that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would refuse to concede the election.
“When Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin,” Caputo said. “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.”
In a statement, HHS said “Mr. Caputo is a critical, integral part of the President’s coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Caputo, a veteran of Trump’s 2016 campaign who was made top spokesman at HHS in April, gave no evidence for any of his claims. But the attacks follow a pattern of top administration officials, and even Trump himself, blaming shadowy figures inside the government for the president’s coronavirus response.