Michael Caputo, the top spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services who recently took temporary leave from his position after he accused the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of sedition, has been diagnosed with cancer, a spokesperson has said.
The spokesperson for Mr Caputo, David DiPietro, a Republican state assemblyman in western New York, said in a statement on Thursday that doctors had diagnosed the official with a metastatic head and neck cancer or “squamous cell carcinoma” that originated in his throat, reports said.
Mr Caputo is said to be currently resting at his home in western New York with his family and has yet to determine where further treatment will take place after being diagnosed at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. The Buffalo News first reported the diagnosis.
The top Trump health adviser announced a 60-day leave of absence earlier this month “to focus on his health and the well-being of his family”.
The leave announcement came as the spokesman faced backlash for accusing the CDC’s top scientists of “sedition” over their coronavirus pandemic response in a Facebook Live video.
He claimed that the CDC had a “resistance unit” to plot how to attack the president, that Joe Biden would refuse to concede the election, and that Trump supporters should prepare for an armed left-wing insurrection.
In the Facebook video, first reported by The New York Times and later circulated widely online, Mr Caputo honed in on career scientists at top public health agencies, claiming those “deep in the bowels of the CDC have given up science and become political animals”.
Mr Caputo, an ardent Trump supporter, was made the department’s spokesperson in April as the coronavirus pandemic began to grip the US.
In Thursday’s statement, Mr Caputo reportedly thanked Mr Trump, HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and National Cancer Institute officials.