Terry del Fuego
2020-09-24 19:46:57 UTC
Michael Caputo receives 'metastatic head and neck cancer' diagnosis
Robert J. McCarthy Sep 24, 2020 Updated 52 min ago
Michael R. Caputo, the East Aurora political consultant at the center
of controversy over the Trump administration's Covid-19 messaging, has
been diagnosed with cancer.
Assemblyman David J. DiPietro, R-East Aurora, acting as Caputo's
spokesman, said Thursday that the Health and Human Services spokesman
on leave from his assistant secretary post has "squamous cell
carcinoma, a metastatic head and neck cancer which originated in his
"He is now home in Western New York, resting in the loving arms of his
family, under the watchful eye of Jesus Christ," DiPietro said in a
Caputo, who was diagnosed after surgery last week for a lump on his
neck at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., has yet to
determine where further treatment will take place, he said Thursday.
A veteran of Carl P. Paladino's 2010 run for governor as well as
President Trump's 2016 campaign, Caputo ignited a firestorm in recent
days after accusing government scientists of "sedition." He told The
Buffalo News last week that he has endured significant pain in recent
months after discovering a "walnut sized" bump on his neck that he
labeled a "swollen lymph node."
"It's something I've been dealing with for months but didn't do
anything about it," he said then, "even though I work in a building
full of doctors."
Caputo said he entered the National Cancer Institute at the urging of
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, who noticed the lump, and that the president directed
arrangements for his admission and had checked on him.
"The Caputo family wants to thank President Donald Trump and Secretary
Alex Azar for their friendship and support," DiPietro said Thursday,
referring to the HHS secretary.
Caputo is on a 60-day leave from the federal government after posting
a Facebook Live claim that some doctors from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, the agency battling the Covid-19 pandemic,
were involved in an anti-Trump conspiracy.
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis earlier this
month launched an investigation after Politico reported that Caputo's
hand-picked science adviser, Paul Alexander, had been attempting to
influence the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports on the
Then Caputo took it further last week by saying: "The scientists in
the bowels of the CDC, deep in the bowels of the CDC, have given up
science and become political animals" aimed at undermining Trump.
Caputo also said: "The partisan Democrats, the conjugal media and the
scientists - the Deep State scientists - want America sick through
Caputo later apologized for the Facebook remarks to HHS staff, and
acknowledged last week to The News that his social media presence has
caused him problems in the past. In 2016, after working on Trump's New
York primary campaign and in preparations for the Republican National
Convention in Cleveland, he resigned after mocking the firing of
campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on Twitter.
"It has not added up to successful use of social media," he
acknowledged last week.
CDC officials have since disputed Caputo's claims.
Caputo indicated last week he intends to return to duty after the
leave, but those plans may change with whatever cancer treatments lie
In his Facebook post, Caputo lamented living and working alone in
Washington away from his family in East Aurora, even acknowledging "my
mental health is affected." But he told The News last week that his
physical health stands as the reason for his leave, pointing to the
lymph node procedure.