Leave of absence for Caputo in furor over meddling

National
Michael Caputo, Dennis C. Vacco

FILE – In this May 1, 2018, file photo, Former Donald Trump campaign official Michael Caputo, left, joined by his attorney Dennis C. Vacco, leaves after being interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee staff investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, on Capitol Hill in Washington. A House subcommittee examining President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is launching an investigation into reports that political appointees have meddled with routine government scientific data to better align with Trump’s public statements. The Democrat-led subcommittee said Sept. 14, 2020 that it is requesting transcribed interviews with seven officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services, including communications aide Michael Caputo. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration health official embroiled in a furor over political meddling with the coronavirus response is taking a leave of absence, the government announced Wednesday.

The Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement that Michael Caputo was taking the time “to focus on his health and the well-being of his family.”

“After consultation with President Trump and Secretary Azar, I have decided 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.

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.

I’ve learned so much in friendship with the doctors of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force. Sometimes we disagree, but we work in unity to defeat the virus and we care for one another. I want to thank Dr Tony Fauci for conferring with my personal physician as we get the healthcare I long needed, and yet neglected, through the pandemic.

Our family is blessed. We urge all Americans to see their family doctor for the healthcare they need but have missed for months during this crisis. Do it today.”

Michael Caputo

Caputo, the department’s top spokesman, apologized on Tuesday to his staff for a Facebook video in which he reportedly said scientists battling the coronavirus are conspiring against President Donald Trump and warned of shooting in America if Trump were to lose the November election.

The Trump appointee also was accused of trying to muzzle a scientific weekly put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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