Michael Caputo, the former Health and Human Services communications official who took a leave of absence after accusing government scientists of sedition, has been diagnosed with cancer, according to The Buffalo News.
The former Trump campaign official has “squamous cell carcinoma, a metastatic head and neck cancer which originated in his throat,” New York state assemblyman David DiPietro told the paper in a statement on Caputo’s behalf.
“He is now home in Western New York, resting in the loving arms of his family, under the watchful eye of Jesus Christ,” DiPietro, a Republican who represents Caputo’s hometown, said in the statement.
The Buffalo News reported that, per DiPietro, Caputo was given the diagnosis following surgery last week at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland to remove a lump on his neck. According to DiPietro, the former HHS assistant secretary of public affairs has not yet made a determination about where he will seek further treatment.
Caputo had checked into the cancer institute at the urging of a doctor from the White House Coronavirus Taskforce, Caputo told the Buffalo News last week, adding that President Donald Trump had arranged for his admission.
“The Caputo family wants to thank President Donald Trump and Secretary Alex Azar for their friendship and support,” DiPietro said Thursday.
Caputo began a 60-day medical leave earlier this month after claiming on Facebook that some of the doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who report findings about COVID-19 were part of an anti-Trump conspiracy plot.
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis had begun investigating his office following a Politico report that Caputo’s hand-picked adviser, Paul Alexander, had altered the CDC’s weekly reporting on COVID-19.
In a Facebook Live event, Caputo complained baselessly of a conspiracy that scientists, “deep in the bowels of the CDC, have given up science and become political animals” who want to damage Trump. He also said that his physical health was questionable, and his “mental health has definitely failed.”
Caputo later apologized for the remarks to HHS staff, before announcing his two month leave which would keep him away until after the November election. He maintained to The Buffalo News last week that his physical wellbeing was the sole reason for his temporary departure.
Caputo indicated last week he intends to return to duty after the leave, but those plans could change depending on his ongoing cancer treatment.