- Michael Caputo, assistant secretary of public affairs for the Department of Health and Human Services, reportedly advocated a conspiracy theory of an armed left insurgency in case President Donald Trump was re-elected in November. The New York Times reported Monday.
- "If Donald Trump refuses to step down on inauguration, filming will begin," he said, citing the Times report. "The drills you saw are nothing. If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it will be hard to come by."
- Caputo also made an unfounded charge against CDC scientists for "rioting" in assembling a "resistance unit" to undermine the president.
- Caputo advanced the conspiracy theories during a Facebook Live event streamed on Sunday and confirmed the comments The Washington Post on Monday.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
A senior communications officer for the Department of Health and Human Services expressed a bizarre conspiracy theory that warned of a left-wing revolt if President Donald Trump is re-elected.
Michael Caputo, assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS, made the remarks in a 26-minute Facebook live chat over the weekend. The New York Times first reported on Monday.
Caputo said with no evidence that he believes Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden would refuse to admit if Trump is re-elected, which he believes would spark violence.
"And if Donald Trump refuses to step down on inauguration, filming will begin," he said without evidence, The Times reported. "The drills you saw are nothing."
Caputo also accused federal scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of "hatred" against Trump, claiming the CDC had a "resistance unit" against Trump, the Times report said.
The Washington Post Caputo reported that the scientists had given up science and became "political animals".
They "didn't come out of their sweatpants except for meetings in coffee shops" to plan "how they will attack Donald Trump next," he said in the video, according to The Post. "There are scientists who work for this government who don't want America to get well until after Joe Biden is president."
Caputo, who has no known background in healthcare, was appointed to the HHS position by the president in April, making him responsible for communications for a department overseeing the CDC, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. He was recently criticized after he was alleged that his team initially disrupted weekly COVID-19 reports from CDC career scientists reported by Politico.
In the livestream video, he also alluded to his sanity, saying it "definitely failed".
"I don't like being alone in Washington," Caputo said, according to The Times. They also say, "You don't wake up every morning talking about dead Americans." At least 194,000 Americans have died from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement to The Times, HHS described Caputo as "a critical, integral part of the president's coronavirus response leading to public news as Americans need public health information to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic".
On Monday, Democratic lawmakers, Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Sen. Patty Murray, HHS Sec. Alex Azar fires Caputo.
"Secretary Azar has a fundamental responsibility to ensure that our public health experts can get their jobs done, our COVID-19 response is not undermined by misinformation or conspiracy theories, and the data used to inform our efforts is free from political interference "Murray said in a statement to the Post.