A top President Donald Trump administration health official is taking a leave of absence for 60 days after alleging the existence of a “resistance unit” against the president inside of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Michael Caputo, assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), made the comments during a Facebook Live video on Sept. 13.
The announcement that Caputo is taking leave was made on Sept. 16.
“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 to news outlets.
The CDC is an office inside of the HHS.
In a statement sent to The Epoch Times by Caputo’s assistant, he said he consulted with the president and Health Secretary Alex Azar before deciding “to take a temporary medical leave of absence to pursue necessary screenings for a lymphatic issue discovered last week.”
“My experience mirrors that of many Americans. When I first noticed I was losing weight, I thought it was because of a new exercise and diet regimen. But over time, I realized there may be other factors causing my weight loss for months,” he added.
“Instead of taking the time to see my doctor, I failed to do so. This was a mistake, and contributed to my stress level, along with the increasing number of violent threats leveled at me and my family back in Buffalo. But every American battling COVID—in every city in every state across the nation—has been under enormous pressure. I am just one of them.”
HHS told The Epoch Times in an email on Sept. 14, “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 said during the Facebook video that within the CDC is a “resistance unit” of career scientists who “haven’t gotten out of their sweatpants except for meetings at coffee shops” during which they plan “how they’re going to attack Donald Trump next.”
“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.
Biden is the Democratic presidential nominee facing Trump in the upcoming election.
Caputo made similar comments during a July 31 podcast interview with Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief adviser for the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine program.
“There are people in the United States government on the Democrats side, we’ve seen these calls for all kinds of ethical stuff on you from the Democrats, they are calling for—because they do not want a vaccine,” he said.
“I know that’s hard to believe, but the people who are abusing you, and who are beating down Operation Warp Speed, and the incredible historic work that’s going on, they don’t want a vaccine until November 4th. I don’t want to talk about politics here, but November 3rd is an important day. They don’t want a vaccine now because of politics, sir.”
Operation Warp Speed is a U.S. government program to speed up the development of COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
Caputo in the recent video said he supported CDC leadership and his boss, Paul Alexander.
Caputo later referenced the violence perpetrated by the far-left Antifa group before commenting about buying ammunition in preparation for violence he believes would occur if Biden won.
He told The Epoch Times that he and his family have been harassed and threatened since joining the administration in April.
According to the Associated Press, Caputo apologized to his staff this week for the Facebook video.
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.