The Department of Health and Human Services’ top spokesperson is walking back his claim that government scientists are plotting against President Donald Trump and engaging in sedition.
On Tuesday, Michael Caputo called an emergency meeting to apologize for conspiratorial comments he made during a Facebook Live video over the weekend, Politico reports.
Caputo reportedly blamed the baseless comments on health issues and the stress of dealing with death threats against his family.
The outlet also reports he said his comments reflected poorly on HHS and that staff members were under the impression that Caputo may leave his post.
The New York Times reported on Monday that Caputo asserted in a Facebook Live video without evidence that government scientists “do not want America to get well, not until after Joe Biden is president.”
He also claimed they “haven’t gotten out of their sweatpants except for meetings at coffee shops,” where they discuss “how they’re going to attack Donald Trump next.”
Additionally, Caputo claimed also without evidence that there are “hit squads being trained all over this country.” And he suggested that the shooting of a Trump supporter in Portland, Oregon, was “just a drill.”
He also told viewers of the video that they should buy ammunition “because it’s going to be hard to get.”
In a statement to the Times, the department 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.”
However, on Monday, there was no indication that he was at risk of losing his job over his comments.
Caputo also told the Times that his family has continually faced death threats.