HHS Spokesman Tweeted About Chinese People Sucking “Blood Out of Rabid Bats”

Before he was officially named to the post last week, Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Michael Caputo scrapped most of the posts off of his Twitter account, deleting a number of questionable and racist content.

Though they were deleted days before he was officially hired, the tweets were not forgotten, and now, some of them are coming to light, demonstrating xenophobic and alarming commentary from a man who is serving as the mouthpiece of a department largely at the center of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Caputo is a strong supporter of President Donald Trump — he was an adviser on Trump’s 2016 campaign, and wrote a book called The Ukraine Hoax which attempted to exonerate the president during the impeachment saga. Caputo accepted his government position on April 15.

“I am honored to serve the President to the best of my abilities in this time of crisis and, in so doing, the American people,” Caputo said.

He hasn’t always been so respectful in his comments, however.

Indeed, among the tweets he deleted, Caputo removed several that blamed China for the spread of the virus, including one disseminating the racist claim that coronavirus came about due to Chinese culinary practices.

“Millions of Chinese suck the blood out of rabid bats as an appetizer,” Caputo wrote in one of his tweets, also suggesting they “eat the ass out of anteaters” — alluding to an unsubstantiated notion that the disease came from a dish called “bat soup” in China, or that it may have come from a similar dish involving pangolins.

Caputo didn’t make these types of comments once or twice, but frequently, and discussed it on his podcast program as well. In another tweet in which a user was critical of him, Caputo responded back, “Don’t you have a bat to eat?”

Caputo, at many times, has said, much like Trump has, that the coronavirus itself wasn’t that worrisome of a threat. He also alleged it was a political ploy by Democrats, whom Caputo believed had inflamed the seriousness of the disease in order to make the president look bad.

The new HHS spokesman’s comments from the past haven’t just targeted Chinese people — they also lambaste prominent Jewish Americans, and demonstrate anti-Semitism in Caputo’s thinking. Caputo, on March 17, stated that economist David Rothschild (whom he called “an inbred elitist sphincter whose family craves control”) had wanted to murder people in order to gain power, for example.

Also in March, Caputo wrote that billionaire philanthropist George Soros, often the target of far-right conspiracy theorists, was happy that a pandemic was happening, stating without evidence that it helped fulfill his political goals.

“Soros’s political agenda REQUIRES a pandemic,” Caputo said.

These comments, disgusting as they are, may not be grounds in Trump’s mind for disqualification from his new role as HHS spokesperson. The president has frequently tried to shift messaging on the coronavirus, insisting on calling it the “Chinese Virus” in tweets and public statements, in spite of the clear racist connotations.

The president has also expressed anti-Semitic views. Trump has called Jewish Americans that voted for Democratic candidates for office “disloyal,” a centuries-old trope.

And before he was president, while campaigning to a group of Jewish Republicans, Trump suggested they wouldn’t vote for him in the primaries because they couldn’t buy him off — another stereotype that promulgates the offensive belief that Jewish people are only concerned with money.