Wagner was also involved in the agency’s botched rollout of blood plasma as a coronovirus treatment, an episode that eventually led FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn to apologize for claims that ended the treatment’s benefits. Caputo assured Wagner this month to work with the department’s preparedness and response agency to try for a Koronova vaccine.
Meanwhile, at the CDC, he stopped the ongoing feud with the agency by helping the agency’s senior top leadership team set up the agency’s new top communications officer in June with little notice.
That officer – Nina Witkofsky, who had previously worked as a communications contractor helping arrange travel for Verma – became CDC acting chief of staff in August. Witkofsky did not respond to a request for comment about his work or communication with Caputo.
But what attracted the most controversy was Paul Alexander, an unpaid, part-time professor at McMaster University. Alexander, who was reported unfavorably by HHS with a medical leave of Caputo in his farewell, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brought up as Kaputo’s science collaborator in a newly created role this spring, Alexander spent months teaching government scientists and trying to edit scientific bulletins written by the Centers for Disease Control, the agency’s famed morbidity and mortality Weekly Report / MMWRs, POLITICO gave the first report on Friday. .
In the email, Alexander allegedly attacked CDC scientists for trying to “hurt the president” by skewing his bulletin and trying to tame Trump’s optimistic message on the epidemic. Behavior was a habit for Alexander: He attempted to stop infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci last week from discussing the risks of coronovirus for children, and in July the Washington Post called on CDC officials to follow Alexander’s earlier efforts Reported.
But Alexander had a powerful defender – Caputo, who shared his advisor’s belief that a “deep position” inside the government was working to harm Trump before the election.
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Following Friday’s Politico report, Caputo found himself in a new situation: Instead of fixing the story, Caputo was the story.
Prominent public health experts attempted to turn the efforts of their team into meticulous, partially non-partisan scientific texts.
MMWRs are “must read, especially during an epidemic,” Rich Beser, CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and former acting head of the CDC, wrote in Scientific American. “To mediate, delay or politicize these reports would be a form of scientific blasphemy as well as a breach of public trust that could undermine the nation’s efforts to fight coronovirus.”
Meanwhile, career civil servants inside HHS were horrified that their work could be distorted by a career political adviser who wanted to protect the president.
Even some Trump privately praised Caputo’s style – sparing with critics of the administration and his efforts to attack the media – felt he went too far to edit scientific documents had gone.
“The problem with this man is that he does not know where the red line is,” said a senior official who believed that some of Caputo’s strict tactics were justified. “Or maybe he sees the red line and he’s like a bull, he accuses him.”
Inspired by critics and a personal health concern, Caputo said in a derogatory accent in a Facebook Live video shared with friends Sunday night, first reported by The New York Times.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Caputo said in the video. “You know why? Because the President of the United States supports me.”
But the video was transformed into conspiracy thinking – as Caputo instigated the theory about the “hit squad” organized by Trump’s opponents and urged members of the militia to carry ammunition in case of a disputed election – and Washington, DC Featured specifically on Capto’s frustrations with. The top spokesperson also recorded more than a dozen attacks on scientists, whose work he was nominated to promote.
“These scientists from the Centers for Disease Control, some of them have come out of the brain,” Caputo said. “They are working against Donald Trump as scientists.”
“There are scientists who work for this government who don’t want America to be well,” Caputo said in a nearly 30-minute video. “Unless Joe Biden is president, it’s a fact. I know it because I’ve heard it… these people are all going to hell.”
On Monday, a House Oversight Subcommittee began an investigation into Kemptu’s efforts, in conjunction with reports from the CDCO, requesting that he, Alexander and other HHS officers submit for interviews next week.
Senior Democrats also asked Caputo to step down, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday demanded that Azar resign Kyoto and his team to pressurize government scientists to criticize himself. Meanwhile, several media outlets included his hometown newspaper in the role of Capeto at HHS, which found his lack of stewers.
Buffalo News wrote in an editorial on Tuesday, “Caputo’s views about managing a health crisis need to be on pasture,” calling for his immediate resignation.
Among firearms, Caputo weighed a possible departure from HHS, consulting with Azar and other senior officials on Tuesday about the logistics of the medical holiday, with four individuals said to be close to the situation. Some White House officials began to conclude that Caputo had become a distraction and needed to depart – whether on medical leave or otherwise.
McMaster University also sought to distance himself from Alexander, with a spokesman saying that he is not currently teaching at the university nor has he been paid as a part-time assistant professor.
By Wednesday afternoon, the situation had become unstable, and HHS announced that Caputo was taking a 60-day medical absence. The spokesperson’s exit has picked one of Trump’s most devoted allies in government in a potentially sensitive time: the election is 48 days away.
HHS also stated that Alexander was leaving the department, although did not offer further details.
Caputo himself took his departure as an essential step to his health. Statement While he praised Fauci, he said he would consult with Trump and Azar about their next steps and the need to pursue screening for the recently discovered lymphatic issue.
“[E]Many Americans battling COVID – in every city in every state of the country – are under tremendous pressure. I am just one of them, “Caputo said. I have learned a lot in friendship with the doctors of the President’s Coronovirus Task Force.”