Trump health appointee Michael Caputo announced Wednesday he is taking a 60-day medical leave of absence from the department after discovering a 'lymphatic issue' last week.
Caputo, who was serving as the department's top spokesman, called on the public to go to the doctor if they notice problems after he says he dismissed his weight loss for months.
He said that the weight change, as well as the 'violent threats leveled at me' over allegations of political interference in the federal coronavirus response, had contributed enormously to his stress levels.
Caputo, who is fiercely loyal to the president, added his thanks to Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, who he says talked to his personal physician about the medical issues.
Just a day before, Caputo had hastily apologized after a Facebook video in which he likened government scientists to a 'resistance' against President Donald Trump.
Trump health appointee Michael Caputo announced Wednesday is taking a medical leave of absence from the department after discovering a 'lymphatic issue' last week
Caputo made a statement about the medical leave of absence on Twitter
'After consultation with President Trump and Secretary Azar, I have decided to take a temporary medical leave of absence to pursue necessary screenings for a lymphatic issue discovered last week, Caputo announced in a tweet.
'My experience mirrors that of many Americans. When I first noticed I was losing weight, I thought it was because of a new exercise and diet regimen. But over time, I realized there may be other factors causing my weight loss for months.
'Instead of taking the time to see my doctor, I failed to do so. Waiting months was a mistake, and contributed to my stress level, along with the increasing number of violent threats leveled at me and my family back in Buffalo.'
He added that all American workers throughout the pandemic have been 'under enormous strain'.
'I am just one of them,' Caputo continued.
'I’ve learned so much in friendship with the doctors of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force. Sometimes we disagree, but we work in unity to defeat the virus and we care for one another.
'I want to thank Dr Tony Fauci for conferring with my personal physician as we get the healthcare I long needed, and yet neglected, through the pandemic.
'Our family is blessed. We urge all Americans to see their family doctor for the healthcare they need but have missed for months during this crisis. Don’t delay any longer. Do it today.'
The leave of absence comes following the allegations of political interference, followed by a personal video that warned of election violence and all but equated science with resistance.
His post is usually not overtly political but Caputo was installed by the White House in April during a period of tense relations with the president's health secretary, Alex Azar.
Caputo, who has no health care background, was the subject of news reports last weekend that he tried to gain editorial control over a scientific weekly published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Caputo spoke about how he put off his medical issues for months
He added that threats to him and his family had added to the stress
That was followed by reports about a video he hosted on his Facebook page in which he likened government scientists to a 'resistance' against Trump and warned that shooting would break out if Trump won the election and Democrat Joe Biden refused to concede.
Caputo had apologized in an emergency staff meeting Tuesday after the New York Times reported on his Facebook post, where Caputo lashed out at opponents, lamented the state of his own mental health, and told people: 'If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it's going to be hard to get.'
Caputo, who delivered the video message from his home in upstate New York, tells his 5,000 followers: 'I'm under siege. It's been going on for a couple of weeks. And I don't care. Because I have the president's support. I know that because he's told me so.'sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more