The session left some employees with the impression that Caputo would soon step aside as the department’s assistant secretary for public affairs, three people with knowledge of the meeting said, although he cautioned that his fate was in flux Stayed. During the meeting, Caputo aligned to the fact that HHS had served for a long time in the past without a permanent top communications officer.
A former HHS official told POLITICO separately that a former Trump campaign official, who has long complained of the tensions noted in the special counsel’s investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 election, was taking a medical leave.
HHS declined to comment.
The meeting came in the wake of a tumultuous week for Caputo, a close aide of President Donald Trump, who was installed as HHS’s communications chief earlier this year.
Caputo was at the center of a series of reports on political mediation with the Department’s Kovid-19 response, including reports by Politico that he and top advisor Paul Alexander tried to influence the CDC’s scientific bulletins. Alexander, who was hired by Caputo in the spring, also pushed infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci to reduce the risk of the virus to children.
On Sunday, Caputo leveled a series of wild and false accusations on Facebook Live that warned of an armed rebellion following the election and without providing evidence that public health officials would downplay Trump’s reelection bid Were trying
Many people inside and outside the administration later expressed concern to Azar and the White House about the Facebook live video.