White House snubs Azar, installs Trump loyalist Michael Caputo as HHS spokesperson - 2020-04-15
Caputo is an intense Trump loyalist whose recent book "The Ukraine Hoax," alleged a conspiracy behind Trump's impeachment.
The high-level move comes after a series of news reports that portrayed Azar as warning Trump about the pending Covid-19 pandemic in January but having the president and his aides dismiss his concerns. Trump on Sunday tweeted that Azar "told me nothing until later," appearing to refute those reports.
White House officials believe that Azar has been shaping favorable coverage of his handling of the Covid-19 outbreak and trying to shift blame for the administration's mishandled response, said two officials with knowledge of the situation. White House frustration with Azar also dates back to last year, with officials unhappy about his long-running feud with Medicare chief Seema Verma, Azar's nominal deputy who maintains her own strong relationship with Trump.