Caputo apologizes to HHS staff, signals desire for medical leave

Caputo told staffers that his series of false accusations on Facebook Live this weekend — which included unfounded allegations that the Centers for Disease Control was harboring a “resistance unit” — reflected poorly on HHS’ communications office. He blamed his recent behavior on a combination of physical health issues and the toll of fielding death threats against his family. Caputo also acknowledged that he had never read one of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, despite his team’s ongoing efforts to try to edit those documents.

Caputo told staff that he is scheduled to meet with HHS Secretary Alex Azar later Tuesday, the people with knowledge of the meeting said…

Three people with knowledge of Caputo’s decision-making confirmed that he was mulling stepping aside as the department’s assistant secretary for public affairs to take medical leave. One former HHS official told POLITICO that Caputo, a former Trump campaign official, has long complained of the stress caused by having been mentioned in the special counsel’s investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 election.