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Everytown Calls on Top HHS Official to Resign After Telling Trump Supporters to “Buy Ammunition” Ahead of the Election

September 15, 2020

Caputo Falsely Accused Scientists of “Sedition” and Said that “When Donald Trump Refuses to Stand Down at the Inauguration, the Shooting Will Begin”

Caputo Added that “If You Carry Guns, Buy Ammunition, Ladies and Gentlemen, Because It’s Going to be Hard to Get”

NEW YORK –– Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, released the following statements calling for the resignation of Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services who said in a Facebook Live that, “when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin. The drills that you’ve seen are nothing.” He added that, “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.”

“Time and again, we’ve seen that an extreme faction of gun extremists are all too ready to heed the Trump administration’s calls for armed intimidation, with potentially deadly results — and now Assistant Secretary Caputo is doing it again,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “There is absolutely no excuse for such rhetoric, and Caputo should resign immediately.”

“When Trump officials peddle conspiracies and cosplay a second civil war, it leads to violence and death,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “This deadly trend has repeated itself time and again, from the man who sent pipe bombs to elected officials in 2018 to the 17-year-old who killed two protestors in Wisconsin last month. Assistant Secretary Caputo must resign today.”

These comments are the latest in a long line of remarks from Trump administration officials and President Donald Trump himself that either encourage or justify violence, which are often followed by violent acts. Last month, an armed vigilante shot and killed two protestors in Kenosha, WI after driving across state lines with an AR-15. Before that, the shooter who killed 23 people and wounded 23 more in El Paso wrote a white supremacist manifesto that echoed President Trump’s racist statements about Latinos; in 2018, a President Trump supporter sent bombs to Trump critics including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama; in 2019, a Milwaukee man threw acid on a Latino man after asking him “Why did you come here and invade my country?” and telling him to “go back;” and in early 2020, during President Trump’s impeachment trial, another supporter of the president threatened to kill Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). On top of that, ABC found 54 cases invoking ‘Trump’ in connection with violence, threats, and alleged assaults; schools have reported that kids are being bullied with President Trump’s rhetoric; and the number of hate groups increased by 55% since 2017. 

Assistant Secretary Caputo’s comments follow multiple weeks where several Republicans have repeatedly defended, incited or applauded violence against protestors: 

  • This past weekend, Colorado GOP Chair, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), was seen at a campaign rally wearing a “Kill ‘Em All, Let God Sort It Out” t-shirt. 
  • On his show, conservative commentator Tucker Carlson recently defended Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who killed two peaceful protestors in Kenosha last week and wounded one more. Ann Coulter also responded to the shooter by saying, “I want him [the shooter] as my president.” 
  • In May, President Donald Trump tweeted “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” and retweeted a post in which a supporter says, “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”
  • The night before the shooting in Kenosha, at the Republican National Convention, five different speakers spoke of “uncontrolled violent mobs that they claim have taken over the nation’s streets,” according to the Washington Post, and the St. Louis couple who pointed guns at peaceful protesters was given a national platform. Washington Post’s Philip Bump wrote, “it’s impossible not to notice how that rhetoric echoes in what appears to have happened in Kenosha.”

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