After the assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, Michael Caputo, posted a bonkers Facebook live stream this weekend, an eruption of outrage exploded on social media calling for his removal from office.
Today, Caputo short-circuited those calls for his dismissal when the DHHS announced that he “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,” the federal agency said in a press release.
Caputo’s decision to take leave until after the election is unsurprising coming from the man who claimed in his Facebook rant that he was under assault by the news media, that his physical health has been affected, and that his “mental health has definitely failed.”
In the same ill-advised live stream, Caputo also went on to promote a bizarre conspiracy theory — one that incidentally is fairly identical to what Donald Trump regularly espouses on the campaign trail — that left-wing Antifa militias were standing by to embark on a murderous rampage if the president were to lose his re-election bid.
“And when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin,” Caputo paranoically warned. “The drills that you’ve seen are nothing.” He added: “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.”
Caputo also confused the unit at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dedicated to researching antibiotic-resistant bacteria — a phenomenon that has become a major medical problem as the overuse of antibiotics has led to the evolution of “superbugs” impervious to existing pharmaceutical solutions — with a non-existent left-wing political resistance group at the CDC.
The obviously mentally fragile public affairs official — who has also been accused of altering CDC COVID-19 data announcements to make them fit more in line with Donald Trump’s pandemic campaign rhetoric — spent part of yesterday apologizing to staffers at the Department of Health and Human Services for his social media outburst and telegraphing his plans for an extended absence.
He also offered a playlist suggestion to the staffers to listen to while he was away.
— Caputo has signaled his desire to take medical leave
— He claimed to staff he had never read a single MMWR, despite efforts to meddle w reports
— He concluded meeting by telling staff to listen to the Grateful Deadhttps://t.co/HoBYgDB7Ej with @adamcancryn @owermohle
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) September 15, 2020
One imagines that “Friend of the Devil,” “Brokedown Palace,” “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” “Hurts Me Too,” and even “Keep On Trucking” should feature prominently and appropriately in any Grateful Dead playlist that DHHS staffers may compile at their colleague’s suggestion.
One hopes that Mr. Caputo gets the psychiatric assistance that he has indicated that he needs. Perhaps 60 days may not be enough to get to the root causes of whatever inspired him to spout such insanity as he did.
Let’s hope that he extends his leave to inauguration day after which it’s likely that President Joe Biden will decide that his services as a political appointee will no longer be needed anyway.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.