In August, Politico published a remarkable profile of Michael Caputo, the smashmouth Republican consultant and onetime Trump campaign aide who had been a disaster of a spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services during the COVID-19 crisis. His tenure at HHS, where he interfered with scientific reports about the pandemic in an attempt to boost Donald Trump’s image, ended in September 2020 with a bizarre Facebook rant in which he claimed anti-Trump “hit squads” were “going to have to kill me” and that armed conflict was coming after the election—and then he was diagnosed with a potentially lethal cancer.