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.
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.
Last month, Trump without evidence accused the “deep state” at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for slowing COVID vaccine trials.
“The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics,” Trump tweeted.
According to the Times, Caputo reiterated those claims to his Facebook followers, saying scientists “deep in the bowels of the CDC have given up science and become political animals.”
The CDC is typically an apolitical institution staffed by career scientists. The agency’s headquarters are in Atlanta, not Washington, in an effort to avoid the type of political pressure to which it is now being accused of succumbing.
In the remarks, Caputo veered from attacking scientists to accusing the far-left “antifa” movement of plotting an attack on Trump supporters.
“Remember the Trump supporter who was shot and killed?” he said. “That was a drill.”
One person was singled out for praise amidst the attacks, the Times said: CDC Director Robert Redfield.
Redfield “is one of my closest friends in Washington,” Caputo said. “He’s such a good man.”