Michael Caputo 'Not Comfortable' With His 'Smashmouth' Style Advising Donald Trump

Former Trump administration official Michael Caputo has said that he is "not comfortable" anymore with the "smashmouth" political style he used to employ while advising the former president.

Caputo, who served as assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) under former President Donald Trump, spoke to Politico's Michael Kruse about his life since he was diagnosed with cancer in September 2020.

In a long article about his conversations and exchanges with Caputo, Kruse reported that friends of the former adviser to the Trump campaign believed he had been changed by his recent experiences.

Caputo told Kruse in a phone call: "I was a smash—I'm a smashmouth politician."

"I didn't sit down to discuss with people I disagreed with the fundamental nature of the American republic—I swung at them and hit them in the nose," Caputo said.

"And I'm not comfortable with that anymore. I'm not. I can't be. I damn near died from it. It's a fact. It nearly killed me."

He went on to say: "Thanksgiving made me want to live, and to understand that I was supposed to, but the path to really turning away from smashmouth politics and understand that there was far more to this was an iterative process, a kind of a gradual shift that was hastened by January 6."

"Because that was the first time I saw a wedge between me and otherwise allies, because I never, ever would have done that, ever, because all I could do was see myself sitting there as a young man, staring out over the Mall, eating my sandwich," Caputo said.

Caputo was part of a group of Republicans who tried to get Trump to run for governor of New York in 2013 and 2014 and he went on to work on Trump's presidential campaign in 2015 and 2016.

In April 2020, Trump appointed Caputo to serve as deputy secretary for public affairs at DHSS. In that role, Caputo was accused of interfering with reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the COVID-19 pandemic, reportedly in an effort to make the former president's position look better.

On September 14, 2020, Caputo posted a video to Facebook where he claimed "there are hit squads being trained all over this country" to resist a second Trump term with force.

"You understand that they're going to have to kill me, and unfortunately, I think that's where this is going," Caputo said at the time.

Caputo told Politico: "It was raw, man. I get that. It was a bad look. An assistant secretary for public affairs should never have been doing anything of the sort. I shouldn't have done it. I apologized to my team at HHS for making their lives more difficult when they were trying to keep people from getting sick. And that's all they were trying to do. I apologized to my team. I apologized to all 400 of them."

He had just been informed that he had cancer before making the remarks but Caputo also said he did not regret what he had said, telling Kruse: "I didn't apologize for being myself. Everything I said in that video, I meant."

Toward the end of the Politico article, Kruse outlined several text messages Caputo sent him following a conversation they had last week. In those messages, Caputo reportedly said that he believes the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent in many states and that COVID-19 was created in a Wuhan lab.

Michael Caputo Waves to Reporters in 2017
Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo (L) waves goodbye to reporters after he testified before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Caputo has said he is no longer comfortable with his previous "smashmouth" political style. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images