Editor’s Note: WARNING: This story contains graphic language.
The top spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services repeatedly directed crude and sexist comments toward women in now-deleted tweets, a CNN KFile review finds.
Michael Caputo, who just started at the department in April, called several women on Twitter “dogface” and made crude insinuations and sexist comments aimed at former FBI attorney Lisa Page prior to joining HHS.
KFile reviewed several thousand deleted tweets from Caputo in 2019 and 2020, which were available on the Internet Archive’s “The Wayback Machine.” The review also turned up additional offensive tweets from Caputo aimed at prominent public figures.
Caputo, a fierce loyalist to President Donald Trump, worked on the President’s 2016 campaign as an adviser and surrogate. He regularly deletes his tweets and erased nearly his entire Twitter history prior to April 12. The New York Republican political operative was appointed as assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS on April 15.
The prominent communications position puts Caputo in a central role in coordinating the federal government’s message on the coronavirus pandemic. CNN is publishing his deleted tweets to give a full picture of Caputo’s views.
CNN previously reported that in other tweets, Caputo made racist and derogatory comments about Chinese people, said Democrats wanted the coronavirus to kill millions of people and accused the media of intentionally creating panic around the pandemic to hurt Trump.
Caputo responded in an email to CNN, writing, “I stopped caring about what handwringing, virtue signaling leftists think of me after their 59th death threat against my family. Have fun with this while I’m fighting a deadly pandemic 24/7.”
The White House did not return a request for comment.
In 2019, Caputo repeatedly directed his ire at Page, the former FBI attorney who exchanged anti-Trump text messages with FBI agent Peter Strzok while the pair, who were having an affair, were working on the Hillary Clinton email probe and Russia investigation.
Caputo called Page a “jezebel,” and a “notorious homewrecker.” He tweeted a picture of Page writing, “sedition is nearly as fun as someone else’s husband.” Caputo said he believed “woke women of the #Resistance” supported Page “until it’s time to introduce her to their husbands.”
Caputo was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors and testified before Congress during the Russia probe. He adamantly denied there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Caputo’s ire against Page seemed to stem from his own involvement in the Russia probe.
The President and some of his supporters have gone after Page and Strozk for their private lives as well as their professional work. The President referred to the pair as “lovers” repeatedly in tweets and mocked them at a rally in October 2019 with a fake conversation between the two that appeared too mimic a couple having sex.
In December 2019, Caputo directly responded to a tweet from Page with a crude reference to oral sex, writing, “what’s that on your chin.”
“I never thought you broke the law, Lisa - sleeping around with married men is quite legal. Your political opinions also aren’t illegal, just unethical at work, like your affairs. You got dragged into this for hate and love - your hate for Trump and your love for, well, you know,” he wrote. The tweet included a GIF of a train going into a tunnel.
Page declined to comment to CNN on Caputo’s tweets.
In other tweets from 2020, Caputo repeatedly referred to different women as “dogface,” telling them “look at this dogface,” “you have a dogface,” and “I would never sleep with you, dog-face.” In another tweet Caputo told a woman to “go f**k yourself,” saying she was “ugly,” and calling her “honey.”
He called Alexandra Chalupa, a Democratic consultant, a crone and a “nutty hag.”
Chalupa told CNN, “Weak men are threatened by strong women.”
Explicit attacks on politicians and government officials
Caputo’s use of crude and vulgar language was not just reserved for women.
He also used it to attack politicians and government officials whom he viewed as insufficiently supportive of the Trump administration or with whom he had a personal grudge.
In October 2019, Caputo sent a string of tweets attacking then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at the height of the impeachment inquiry into Trump, calling him a “piece of shit, “a “traitor, “a “scumbag”, and a “seditionist.”
Rosenstein told CNN in an email he does not read comments on Twitter.
Caputo also insulted and criticized Mark Zaid, the attorney who represented the whistleblower whose complaint against President Trump sparked the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry.
Zaid and Caputo got into a back-and-forth on Twitter, in which Caputo told Zaid to “go romance yourself” and go “blow me counselor.”
Zaid responded to Caputo’s tweets in a comment to CNN.
“It is bad enough that one learns in today’s social media world how horrible, petty and immature people can be at times,” Zaid said. “But to think that these are the very same people hired by the Trump Administration into senior level, public positions, it reinforces how much work will be needed in the future to restore the damage caused to democracy - even humanity - since 2017.”