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Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Michael Caputo

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

In a podcast unearthed by Media Matters, Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Michael Caputo spread baseless conspiracy theories about the coronavirus, praised white supremacist Milo Yiannopoulos, and said Democrats are "counting" on COVID-19 fatalities in order to win the election against President Donald Trump.

On his now-defunct show Still Standing with Michael Caputo, the current HHS spokesperson pushed the debunked conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was invented "in a bioweapons facility in Wuhan," used racist terms to refer to the virus, and said Democrats are calculating how long they can "actually keep the coronavirus concern ball in the air" in order to win the election. He also praised various white supremacist and "alt-right" personalities, including neo-Nazi Milo Yiannopoulos and Pizzagate conspiracy theorists and "alt-right" Twitter personalities Mike Cernovich and Jack Posobiec. On his podcast, Caputo also pushed anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about billionaire progressive donor George Soros paying anti-Trump protesters and other conspiracy theories about Democrats, the media, and the Mueller investigation.


CNN previously reported on racist and sexist now-deleted tweets from Caputo.

Caputo was thrust into the national spotlight when then-special counsel Robert Mueller looked into his involvement in the Trump 2016 campaign during his investigation. He spread conspiracy theories about the investigation on Twitter, and in the clips unearthed by Media Matters, he said he's "not right" after going through the Mueller investigation" and can "barely breathe" because of his anger.

A longtime friend of Stone, Caputo was at the forefront of the campaign to get Stone a presidential pardon. HHS Secretary Alex Azar appointed Caputo to his position as an HHS spokesperson in April 2020, "putting a vocal defender of President Donald Trump in a key messaging role," according to CNN.

Two of the most important agencies under HHS tasked with fighting the coronavirus, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have recently come under fire for the perception that the apolitical agencies are being influenced by political pressure from the Trump White House. Controversial FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told the HHS spokesman his position is "well deserved" during an interview on the podcast that Caputo currently hosts for the department.

Caputo at present represents a department that includes science-driven research and regulatory bodies, all of which require trust from the public at large. His history as a Trump loyalist, an ally of white supremacists, and a conspiracy theory enthusiast all raise questions as to whether the HHS has appropriate personnel in place to respond to the global pandemic.


Michael Caputo remarks from unearthed podcast www.youtube.com

Caputo spread conspiracy theories about the coronavirus, used racist terms to describe it, and said Democrats are "counting" on more fatalities for an election win

Caputo pushed the baseless conspiracy theory that the novel coronavirus was created by the Chinese "in a bioweapons facility in Wuhan," repeatedly calling it the "Chinese coronavirus."

From the March 19, 2020 edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): We are going to call this the Chinese coronavirus the Chinese virus because that is where it started. I don't care if a little leftist lady here in my village is upset by the fact that I call it the Chinese coronavirus. She can call me a racist all she wants. I'm not a racist.
Nobody except for these wackjob leftists think that it's racist to call it what it is. That's why I'm so proud of the president standing up in front of the media accusing him of creating a stigma, creating a stigma, by calling it the Chinese coronavirus. You know what created a stigma for China? You know what did? By maybe even manufacturing this in a bioweapons facility in Wuhan or maybe it's their eating habits where they suck the blood out of bats and eat the ass out of anteaters. But it's not just the start -- of course people live differently and cultures are different. But it's the way that they dealt with it, they immediately covered it up, they immediately lied about it. They immediately kept all data from the World Health Organization. The Chinese Community Party which controls all information brutally inside China, brutally, has also tried to control the information flow outside of China about the Chinese coronavirus.
Ladies and gentlemen it is a pandemic of Chinese origin.

Caputo called the coronavirus "the Chinese virus" and "the Chinese coronavirus."


From the March 19, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

Caputo said Democrats are calculating how long they can "actually keep the coronavirus concern ball in the air" in order to win the election.

From the March 13, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): How much of your retirement has to disappear in order for the Democrats to win? Does your job have to disappear in order for the Democrats to win? Can they actually keep the coronavirus concern ball in the air enough -- to drive enough destruction of our economy for them to win? I mean, how much does our economy have to die and how many Americans have to die for these Democrats to get what they want? I don't believe they brought the Wuhan virus to America to win. But just like you heard the Obama White House say oftentimes -- Rahm Emanuel in particular the former chief of staff -- never let a crisis go by without leveraging it. What's the line? Whatever

Caputo claimed Democrats are counting on "fatalities because the more people that die, the more personal tragedy there is" and it gives "Democrats a chance to harvest ... waning enthusiasm in the president."

From the March 13, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): A great example of why the president shouldn't be president of the United States is how he's handled the Wuhan virus, right? I can see that. But what is behind that strategy? What has to happen for the president to lose in this new Democratic strategy? It's very, very clear they're counting on two things: fatalities of course, fatalities because the more people that die, the more personal tragedy there is and that's emotional and it gives Democrats a chance to harvest, let's just say, waning enthusiasm in the president. A lot of people die, the Democrats win. The second thing is the Democrats have been hobbled, really hobbled by the president's strong economy. Of course, you know, we see in history that presidents, Republican and Democrat, who are presiding over a strong economy are typically reelected. Of course why make a change if you're making money? [Still Standing with Michael Caputo, 3/13/20]

Caputo: "How many have to die for the Democrats to win?"

From the March 13, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): So my question naturally is how many have to die for the Democrats to win and how much money? How much does our economy have to collapse? That's a legit question since this is your new strategy. First of all Democrats will not admit that's their strategy. We know that's their strategy and using the crashed economy and the response to the coronavirus in order to defeat the president because they've got nothing else.

...

So for the Democrats 2020 strategy to work, do 100,000 Americans have to die? Is that the number?

Caputo praised white supremacists and other far-right figures: Yiannopoulos' "views aren't all that different from mine."

Caputo praised white supremacist Milo Yiannopoulos as "absolutely delightful" and someone whose "views aren't all that different from mine."

From the March 13, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): One thing that happened to me at the Stone trial was I met for the first time Milo Yiannopoulos. Roger had told me that he knew Milo, that he thought highly of Milo, and would speak of Milo, something that Milo had said or something Milo had done in our conversations. But I never had an opportunity to meet Milo. Roger has an eclectic crew, and it sounded to me like Roger was counting Milo in his crew. I had no idea how close they were. Roger keeps those things kind of close -- those cards close to his vest, but I met Milo at Roger's trial. And I found him to be absolutely delightful.
Look, I know people call Milo names. People call me names, I think they were trying to cancel Milo because they saw his views as dangerous -- not his views but his ability to communicate his views. His views aren't all that different from mine. I know he's got some things -- said some things that are out there, he's a provocateur, agent provocateur. He is, you know, in many ways another Roger Stone, in a lot of ways. But I found him delightful. We actually went to lunch with a friend of mine and her son, what a -- we laughed the whole time. He spends a lot of time trying to, I don't know, trying to make you smile, and that kind of a personality, I don't know about you, I find that to be refreshing. He's always joking and, you know, obviously when things were getting serious at the trial he was somber as the rest of us, but at the appropriate times -- and probably not so appropriate times -- he was looking for a laugh, and he gets them because he's smart. But I found out why he was there. He's writing a book about Roger Stone, about the Stone trial, and I thought well first of all, I really wanted to write that book. But I was a wreck, you know, I couldn't write that book.

Caputo called neo-Nazi collaborator and conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec "someone I like alot" and recounted meeting other "guys" who are "called alt-right" at the Conservative Political Action Committee's convention.

From the March 13, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): I only recently met Jack Posobiec, someone I like alot, I've followed and respect a lot. He's on One America News. I have not met guys like Mike Cernovich. Raheem Kassam, it was a pleasure to meet him. He was coming in as I was going out. And a lot of these guys are named -- they're called alt-right -- and I actually met Milo Yiannopoulos. I'm going to talk about him as well on this podcast a little bit later. But I met him during the Stone trial, what a pleasure that was. I know people don't like Milo for whatever reasons. I didn't pay much attention to it, you know, after -- just meeting him, had lunch with some friends at a nice restaurant near the courthouse where Roger was being -- was on trial. I really liked him, really interesting guy. Controversial. I like controversy. Anyone who would be close friends with Roger Stone would probably find Milo interesting. So I find myself in those crosshairs. Very interesting cat. Got to meet him. He was not as CPAC. I don't think Milo -- I think he's on the outs of the CPAC crowd. They call it conservative inc. But anyway, I am starting to meet these guys, interesting guys, men and women. I was hoping to meet others at CPAC like Tracy Beanz who is -- runs UncoverDC, very cool independent journalist.

Caputo on Yiannopoulos: "He says some things that are pretty out there, but I love the guy for it."

From the March 13, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): I couldn't agree with Milo more. He captures it all and it's a good read, you can hear his voice in it. A lot controversial here and there, he says some things that are pretty out there, but I love the guy for it. He talks about this juror Tomeka Hart, he says she is not honest, and he's right.

Caputo recommended Yiannopoulos' book about Roger Stone.

From the March 13, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): I was so glad to see that somebody of Milo's level of talent was going to write about it. I didn't know what he was going to do, I was there, saw him there -- saw him there the day of the sentencing. I couldn't hang around with him much because he was hanging around with Roger, and I wasn't allowed to be around Roger. But one day they came in, they were all hungover. I was a little jealous because I would have loved to have gotten drunk with my friend Roger. All these guys, hanging around, you know all of them hungover. At 58, I don't do that very much anymore, but I would have taken that opportunity to sit and drink with Roger again.
But anyway, so I haven't spoken to Milo for a little while and he was really hunkered down I figured on this book of his. And the book is out, I think it's out on Amazon any day. It's called The Trial of Roger Stone, and I'm here to tell you you've got to read it. You've got to read it. It is absolutely true. I got a chance to read an advanced copy. I think you should really do it. If you get a chance, pick it up. I don't think it's going to be expensive. It's more of -- it's a book, there are, you know, -- it covers the trial and Roger's history, everything, completely and yet it's not 300 pages long. This is, I don't know, old school -- they might call it a monograph. But this is the kind of book that you can read and when you're done with it, you'll understand everything you need to know about Roger Stone and the situation he's in. And great chapters. He talks about Stone's rule, which I've lived by them all of my life.

Caputo said you could "hear the broken heart" of Milo Yiannopoulos in his writing about Steve Bannon.

From the March 13, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): Milo spends a chapter talking about Steve Bannon. He's very close to Steve. Steve kind of brought him into this life, and he didn't agree with what Steve said or did at the trial. You could hear the broken heart in what Milo's writing about, what he observed with Steve Bannon. And then his final chapter is called "Mr. President," "Mr. President." And it's basically a letter to President Trump, and honest to God, this book really ripped my heart out. It's so spot on about Roger, everything Milo says -- he may not know Roger as long as I do, but he knows Roger as well as I do. And if you want to know -- if you want to understand what is happening to Roger Stone -- and it will be coming up again soon as Roger is faced with actually going to prison and what the president is going to actually do -- and you know, he just explains it. You need to know this.

Caputo told his audience to go buy Yiannopoulos' book.

From the March 13, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): I say go do it. Go read Milo's book. It's up on Amazon now, it's called The Trial of Roger Stone. You'll know it because the cover, brilliantly designed, has Roger Stone's glasses, his famous round glasses. It's by Milo Yiannopoulos, The Trial of Roger Stone. Please go read it. I want everybody to understand why Roger Stone deserves a pardon. Milo lays it out and honest to God, Mr. President if you're listening, buy this book just for the last chapter because it's a letter to you.

Caputo praised "alt-right" rape apologist Mike Cernovich: "Pretty remarkable guy, if you ask me. I know people think he's alt-right or whatever. I think it's all crap."

From the February 21, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): Her name was suddenly out there --Tomeka Hart, and who gets a hold of that, of course, but Mike Cernovich. Pretty remarkable guy, if you ask me. I know people think he's alt-right or whatever. I think it's all crap. Mike Cernovich to me is a really remarkable guy. A very bright attorney, got great -- I just love the way he thinks. He's not a Trump butt kisser at all, he likes Trump. But he calls out Trump when he doesn't agree with him.

And he writes in his -- apparently Cernovich -- he goes and he checks Taomeka on Twitter, finds Tomeka Hart's account, goes through it and finds all these posts pre-trial and even during the trial that were anti-Trump calling, "If you support Trump or any Trump associate, you're all racist." How an African American woman who thinks that someone she's judging or standing in judgment over is a racist can think she can be unbiased. Of course it's a lie. She snuck around to the jury and then managed to finesse it so she could be jury foreperson.

Caputo pushed anti-Semitic conspiracy theories: "Watch your back. You have to understand how big this is."

Caputo pushed anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about George Soros paying protesters.

From the February 8, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): The left is going to go crazy, not because the anarchists want people like Joe Biden to make millions undisturbed from taxpayer money. No, no, because the people who benefit from these billions, billions of dollars, the people who benefit from it like George Soros and others -- billionaires, multinational billionaires, they're going to pay these protesters to do exactly what they did during the [Brett] Kavanaugh selection

Caputo says protesters are being "paid and inspired by billionaires that they are serving": "Watch your back. … You have to understand how big this is."

From the February 8, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): The left is going to go nuts because they're going to be paid and inspired by billionaires that they are serving. These antifa types, they all serve them. The Women's March,you know, partially paid for by George Soros and other billionaires. The Black Lives Matter protests, you know the protests at the airports after Donald Trump was elected trying to shut down the airports, all paid for by big money. Who pays for those buses bringing all those pink-hatted people into Washington D.C. Next time you see a large group of people, go to the buses, take down their license plate number, and find out who paid for it. Now they're cloaking that stuff, but maybe they won't -- all that stuff comes from billionaires. There is going to be violence, there is going to be violence. It is going to happen. We've seen it happen before. We've seen it happen in Ukraine. Watch your back. This is -- you have to understand how big this is.

Caputo attacked Democrats, the media, and the Mueller investigation, sometimes pushing conspiracy theories

Caputo quoted Thomas Jefferson to compare Democrats to wolves attacking a camp: "You kill them before they get in. … Watch your back, ... lock your doors, set your alarms, carry your legal weapons, because ... this is just starting."

From the February 8, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): Recognize familiar faces, recognize familiar tactics. Watch what happened in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, all the other what they call color revolutions. The only thing that happened there that hasn't happened in America is snipers on the rooftops shooting 130 people -- 100 people in 20 minutes like they did on the Maidan in Ukraine. Who paid for the snipers who killed those people because I know their money is green in America as well. Watch your back, my friends, protect your families, protect your businesses, lock your doors, set your alarms, carry your legal weapons.
You know, Thomas Jefferson once said -- it's one of my favorite quotations, I use it in the book and in the film -- that it's much easier to get rid of wolves before they've made it into your camp. You keep them out, you kill them before they get in. It's much easier to get rid of them then but when they're crawling up your leg trying to bite you -- to tear your throat out. Ladies and gentlemen, it's too late for that. All those wolves, they're inside the camp now. You see them, they're antifa dressed in black. They're beating people up, innocent people on the street. You've seen the videos. Everybody's seen them. The only ones who won't talk about them are the left because they know what they're planning. They know what they're planning. Watch your back, protect your families, protect your business, lock your doors, set your alarms, carry your legal weapons, because this, ladies and gentlemen, this is just starting.

Caputo said he can "barely breathe" and is "still not right" because of his anger over Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation, dismissed threats against Rep. Adam Schiff and called him a "scumbag Democrat," then described his guns.

From the March 19, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

Caputo: "I'm not a prepper" but "I know where to get" 80 days worth of preserved food.

From the March 13, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): I'm not a prepper. I'm a guy after three years of the Russia investigations that doesn't believe our government, and that I'm very skeptical about the national security agencies and, you know, I'll admit, I got a bug out bag in my safe. I'm not -- I don't have tins of food that will last 80 days, but I know where to get it, and I got friends that do. So I may be a little bit more of a doubting Thomas than most, but I think coronavirus is a problem.

Caputo: "MSNBC and CNN commentators are parroting Chinese Communist Party propaganda."

From the March 19, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): What's amazing to me is that MSNBC and CNN commentators are parroting Chinese Communist Party propaganda. Completely, absolutely, verse by verse, syllable by syllable, they're repeating Communist Party propaganda. And then they tell us we're racist if we call it the Chinese coronavirus, which is exactly what it is, the Chinese coronavirus.

Caputo falsely claimed "there's no real proof" the Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-linked Russian troll farm, exists.

From the March 19, 2020, edition of Still Standing with Michael Caputo

MICHAEL CAPUTO (HOST): There's no real proof they exist. There are stories that were written about it and some people who said they were related to it, but it all sounds like intelligence to me. It all sounds like a set-up to me. Maybe the internet research agency exists, I don't know, not an expert, don't care. But frankly, all of this sounds like lies.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoon.