Michael Caputo, the former 2016 campaign adviser to President Donald Trump who was recently appointed the top spokesperson for the Health and Human Services Department, has deleted a number of racist and offensive tweets he published as the coronavirus pandemic spread across the U.S.
Caputo deleted all of the tweets on his personal account prior to April 12 and, on Thursday, he directed his followers to the official Twitter account of the HHS assistant secretary for public affairs, the job he now has.
But an online archive of Caputo’s deleted tweets from as recent as this month marked by profanity, vitriol against the media, attacks on Democrats and racist remarks against Chinese people throughout the coronavirus outbreak.
CNN was the first to report on Caputo’s tweets, which can still be viewed on Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine that takes snapshots of webpages and archives them.
In a tweet published on March 12, Caputo claimed that “millions of Chinese suck the blood out of rabid bats as an appetizer and eat the ass out of anteaters” ― a post that was in response to a question about how he knew that the novel coronavirus started in Wuhan, China.
Caputo also tweeted the phrase ”#ChineseVirus” a total of 20 times in one tweet in response to a video of Trump defending the racist phrase during a briefing by the White House’s coronavirus task force.
The new health department spokesperson also previously accused the media of spreading “intentional media panic” over COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. And he encouraged conspiracy theories.
In late March, Caputo tweeted a picture of liberal billionaire and philanthropist George Soros, suggesting that he was behind the outbreak. Soros is often the target of right-wing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
Caputo, a fierce Trump supporter, was appointed the HHS assistant secretary for public affairs earlier this month as the administration continues to hold weekly public updates on the U.S. response to the pandemic.
In February, Caputo published a book titled “The Ukraine Hoax,” defending Trump against the whistleblower complaint about the president’s phone call with Ukraine’s president that led to his impeachment.
Earlier this month, Politico reported that Caputo was being moved into the communications position in order to have more control over HHS Secretary Alex Azar; the story cited two unnamed officials.
The personnel move came after The Washington Post published a report critical of Trump’s response to early warnings about the coronavirus. According to the story, U.S. intelligence officials and Azar encouraged the president to take early action on the growing threat, to no avail.
On Thursday, Caputo denied those reports via the official HHS account, tweeting that Azar has told “many reporters” that Trump “responded resolutely to all recommendations from public health experts.”