HHS Spokesman Michael Caputo Faces Calls for His Firing After 'Racist' Tweets About China Unearthed, Says 'I Don't Care'

Racist and derogatory tweets about Chinese people have been found from the new spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), prompting calls for his firing.

Last week, Michael Caputo, who worked on President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, was appointed assistant secretary for public affairs at HHS, which is central to the government's coronavirus response.

CNN's KFile reported that although he has deleted the majority of his Twitter history prior to April 12, the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine retained copies of his tweets, including one on March 12 in which he made derogatory comments about the origins of the coronavirus.

In the tweet, he wrote: "Millions of Chinese suck the blood out of rabid bats as an appetizer and eat the a** out of anteaters." In other responses on Twitter, he followed up with "Don't you have a bat to eat?" and tweeted at another user, "You're very convincing, Wang."

Michael Caputo
Spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services Michael Caputo is pictured on May 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. He has admitted sending a number of racist tweets about China that have since been deleted. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The comments appear to refer to a theory that gene sequencing shows the virus may have originated in bats and transferred to humans through an intermediary, possibly a pangolin.

Caputo told CNN the unearthing of his tweets was "fair game dude. I don't care, it doesn't matter to me at all," adding, "when you tweet in spirited fashion, KFile is going to have them. I've known that all my days. So I don't mind what you've done."

His comments sparked anger on social media, with Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) tweeting: "Racism is absolutely disqualifying and sends a terrible message. This Trump spokesperson should be fired immediately."

Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) tweeted: "These disgusting tweets are disqualifying for any job in government let alone Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at HHS. CAPUTO MUST BE CANNED IMMEDIATELY."

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) tweeted: "The anti-Asian bigot & racist Caputo must be fired today. His deranged, profane & hate-filled polemics disqualify him for public employment & he should quickly return to the rock he lives under.

"Asian Americans don't deserve this appalling insult & neither do the rest of us."

Dr. Eugene Gu, a former resident physician and founder and CEO of Cool Quit, who has criticized Trump on social media for calling COVID-19 a Chinese virus, tweeted to his 438,00 followers: "If Michael Caputo tweeted 'millions of Chinese suck the blood out of rabid bats as an appetizer and eat the ass out of anteaters', then he must be removed from his post immediately.

"Asian Americans deserve an HHS spokesperson who treats us with respect and basic human dignity," he added.

CNN also dug up a number of disparaging tweets that Caputo made about the Democrats, accusing them of wanting the coronavirus to kill millions of people.

Newsweek has contacted the White House and the Chinese embassy in Washington for comment.

The infographic below, provided by Statista, shows the countries with the most COVID-19 cases as of April 23.

statista, covid19, coronavirus,
A map showing the countries with the most known COVID-19 cases. Statista
HHS Spokesman Michael Caputo Faces Calls for His Firing After 'Racist' Tweets About China Unearthed, Says 'I Don't Care' | U.S.