WASHINGTON (AP) — A Trump health appointee who is accused of trying to muzzle an important scientific publication in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic apologized Tuesday for a separate video in which he reportedly says scientists battling the virus are conspiring against President Donald Trump and warns of shooting in America if Trump loses the election.
Michael Caputo, the top spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, apologized to his staff for the Facebook video, said an administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.
Caputo says on a taxpayer-funded podcast that Democrats don't want a coronavirus vaccine until after the election to punish President Donald Trump.
News reports alleged last week that Caputo’s office tried to take over and muzzle a scientific weekly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that publishes what is supposed to be authoritative, unvarnished information about disease-fighting efforts, including, most importantly at present, COVID-19.
Then on Monday came an account of the video on Caputo’s personal Facebook page in which he accused government scientists of conspiring against Trump and suggested violence could break out after the election.
HHS is standing by Caputo amid calls for his ouster.