Trump aide Michael Caputo claims 'shooting will begin' when president refuses to step down at inauguration

The No 2 at HHS Department recently told his Facebook followers to prepare for an armed insurrection and advised them to buy ammunition

                            Trump aide Michael Caputo claims 'shooting will begin' when president refuses to step down at inauguration
Michael Caputo (Getty Images)

An aide to President Donald Trump has made an explosive claim on a Facebook Live session on September 13 saying political opponents “are going to have to kill me” and alleged that the Democrats are planning for an armed insurrection. Michael Caputo, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Public Affairs and a former Trump campaign official came up with a series of bizarre conspiracy theories after Politico published a story last Friday, September 11, saying he and other political appointees were putting pressure on the Centers for Disease Control officials to change weekly reports on the coronavirus pandemic.

Caputo accusing the government scientists of "sedition" in their response to coronavirus and claiming without evidence that a critical federal health agency has a "resistance unit" against Trump. Since he made the accusations during a live video hosted on his personal Facebook page, that along with his Twitter account was deactivated soon after his diatribe on September 13.

The New York Times reported on Caputo’s Facebook Live post in which he was quoted as saying: “You understand that they're going to have to kill me, and unfortunately, I think that's where this is going. “And when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin,” Caputo, 58, said, adding: “The drills that you've seen are nothing. If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it's going to be hard to get.”

The HHS official, who got appointed only in April this year, also indicated that his mental health was in a vulnerable state. “I don't like being alone in Washington,” he continued. He said there were “shadows on the ceiling in my apartment, there alone, shadows are so long”. 

Caputo is an associate of longtime Trump ally Roger Stone who also said the president should consider invoking the Insurrection Act if the results indicated that he was losing the election. Trump and his allies have constantly attacked the idea of mail-in ballots saying it will lead to widespread malpractice and corrupt the entire election and there are possibilities that they will not recognize the results if they go against the incumbent. The president has in the recent past showed a willingness to deploy military forces on the streets of Washington DC in the wake of the violence that erupted over the death of George Floyd across cities but disagreeing voices in his own administration did not see it happen eventually. 

The ambiance ahead of the November 3 election has turned tense with both the Republican and Democratic leaderships targeting each other over the results. While Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said a few months ago that the military will escort Trump out of the White House if he refused to concede defeat even after losing, the president said in an interview recently that he would put down any ‘insurrection’ that takes place threatening his potential win.

Caputo’s bizarre apprehension came days after Trump claimed that he will “negotiate” a third term if he wins the November election. The president has said time and again that he deserved a third term since his 2016 campaign was spied on. 
Caputo has earlier lived in Russia and advised its state energy firm Gazprom. He was also interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller who looked into the alleged interference by Russia in the 2016 poll. The latest claim from Caputo did not make him lose his job. According to a tweet by Philip Rucker, the White House Bureau chief at the Washington Post: “A day after warning Facebook followers to prepare for armed insurrection after Nov. 3, Michael Caputo remains in his job as a top communications official in the Trump administration's coronavirus response.”



The Insurrection Act 

The Insurrection Act (1807), which Trump threatened to use against the protesters, gives America’s presidents the power to deploy active-duty military personnel to restore peace. It has been invoked a number of times in the 20th century, most famously by former president Dwight D Eisenhower who sent the 101st Airborne Division to enforce desegregation of public schools in Little Rocks, Arkansas. 

The origin of the Act, however, dates back to more than two centuries to a bizarre incident in the history of the US when former vice president Aaron Burr planned to raise an army to set up his own dynasty in either Louisiana Territory or Mexico. Former president Thomas Jefferson wanted the Act to foil Burr’s sinister plan but it was never used against him for he had been tamed before that.