HHS Appointee Caputo Apologizes To Staff, Hints At Medical Leave; STAT Examines Political Influence At CDC, Director Redfield’s Tenure
POLITICO: Caputo apologizes to HHS staff, signals desire for medical leave
“The health department’s top spokesperson Michael Caputo called an emergency staff meeting on Tuesday to apologize for drawing negative attention to the Trump administration’s health care strategy and signaled that he might be soon departing his role, according to five people with knowledge of the meeting. … 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…” (Cancryn et al., 9/15).
STAT: As controversies swirl, CDC director is seen as allowing agency to buckle to political influence
“In his first address to the staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield called the Atlanta-based agency ‘the best science-based, data-driven agency in the world.’ … Now, 2 1/2 years into his tenure, the storied agency finds itself in new and treacherous waters, its reputation stained, and the morale of its staff at a historic low, current and former CDC insiders told STAT. Many say Redfield is not doing enough to safeguard the reputation of the CDC and the integrity of its work, and that he is failing to successfully fend off political interference that is eroding Americans’ trust in the organization…” (Branswell, 9/16).