Trump Ousts Scaramucci As Comms Chief Just 10 Days After Bringing Him On

Andrew Harnik/AP

President Donald Trump on Monday removed Anthony Scaramucci from his role as White House communications director just 10 days after bringing him on.

The New York Times first reported, citing three unnamed sources close to the decision, that Trump ousted Scaramucci at the request of newly minted White House chief of staff John Kelly.

Per the New York Times, it was not clear whether Scaramucci would continue to work at the White House or if he would leave the administration altogether.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that Scaramucci “will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director” and “felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team.”

Scaramucci is the current record-holder for ex-Trump administration employee with the shortest tenure.

Scaramucci’s abrupt removal came days after he called a New Yorker reporter to rail against former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief White House strategist Steve Bannon in eye-poppingly graphic terms.

He called Priebus (who Trump gave the boot two days later) “a fucking paranoid schizophrenic” and claimed Bannon was only interested in media attention for himself.

“I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President,” Scaramucci said, a profane prefix to one of his more memorable analogies. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.”

Before Scaramucci went to work for Trump’s administration, he burnished his bona fides by making regular appearances on cable news to boost the President.

CNN in June retracted a story reporting that Scaramucci was connected to congressional investigations into a Russian investment fund. Trump quickly pounced on the retraction and subsequent resignation of three employees at the network as proof of his often-repeated claim that CNN is “fake news.”

“It needed to be retracted, otherwise I think I needed to get more aggressive,” Scaramucci said of the story, though he accepted CNN’s apology.

He sold his investment firm SkyBridge Capital in January when his name was floated for a White House position, but remained an employee and collected a salary until he started at the Export-Import Bank at the end of June. The sale of SkyBridge Capital was not yet final when Scaramucci joined Trump’s administration.

Scaramucci’s sudden ascent to the West Wing prompted Sean Spicer to resign as White House press secretary, a long-rumored departure that kicked off Scaramucci’s short but turbulent tenure.

White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci speaks to members of the media at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci speaks to members of the media outside the White House in Washington, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Over the course of the 10 days he had the job, Scaramucci made big waves. On day one, he apologized for calling his new boss “another hack politician” in 2015, claimed the White House was “on track” and “doing a really good job” and refused to distance himself from Trump’s baseless claim that millions of illegal votes cost him the popular vote.

He spent day two scrubbing his Twitter of old tweets criticizing Trump, whose campaign he once called a “spectacle,” and praising Hillary Clinton, who he once called “incredibly competent.”

On day three, Scaramucci threatened to “pare down” White House staff if rampant leaks coming out of Trump’s administration didn’t stop. Later that day, Scaramucci cited an anonymous cyber security expert source — “I won’t tell you who,” he said — and within moments confessed, “It was the President.”

“There’s obviously a communications problem,” Scaramucci said of Trump’s administration, in retrospect a prescient summary of his predicament.

Before speculating about Priebus’ mental state on the record, Scaramucci appeared to accuse his former colleague last week of committing a “felony” by leaking his publicly available financial disclosure form.

Days before the Senate failed to pass a proposal to repeal Obamacare, Scaramucci compared Republican lawmakers’ ongoing efforts to repeal the health care bill to former President Abraham Lincoln’s abolition of slavery.

“That was a much tougher thing to get done than what we’re working on right now,” he admitted.

Barreling onward, Scaramucci also argued that Trump’s taste for “cheeseburgers” and “pizza” disqualified the President from being an elitist. (“Everyone eats cheeseburgers and pizzas, what are you talking about?” a BBC reporter replied.)

Scaramucci’s first week on the job made the typically low-profile position of communications director briefly the most visible show in town, and garnered more attention for himself than his boss, an ironic approach given his anatomically improbable suggestions about Bannon.

The New York Post reported Friday that Scaramucci’s wife Deirdre Ball filed for divorce, citing his “naked political ambition” and loyalty to Trump.

Ball’s lawyer pushed back on that report and told the New York Times that Ball’s divorce filing was “a private matter” and had “nothing to do with Trump.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, bade Scaramucci a cheery adieu on Monday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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