The investor and Trump fundraiser Anthony Scaramucci has been hired to lead the White House’s communications department, according to multiple reports.
The unconventional move sparked the resignation of White House press secretary Sean Spicer. It also trigged outrage from chief strategist Steve Bannon, according to NBC News.
So who is Anthony Scaramucci, and why was he appointed to a job for which it appears he has no qualifications in the traditional sense?
Scaramucci founded the investment firm SkyBridge Capital in 2005, to relative success. His SkyBridge Alternatives Conference, or SALT, brought together major hedge fund managers and investors every year in Las Vegas.
He’s a frequent sparring partner on cable news shows. Back in December, he compared climate change science to flat Earth theory, even though Scaramucci is to the left of most of the Trump administration on climate change. More recently, Scaramucci complained that journalists are “nosy” and “throw eggs.”
In May 2016, Scaramucci took a risk on Trump, joining his national finance committee and stepping away from a tight pack of Republican uber-fundraisers who, up to that point, had largely steered clear of the Trump campaign.
“I am on board and will support and raise money for him,” he said, the Washington Post reported. “I will do whatever I can to support our Republican nominee.”
Scaramucci hadn’t always been on the Trump team: a year earlier, he called Trump a “hack” for trashing hedge fund managers, in a monologue dripping with Wall Street testosterone.
Among the visitors to Trump Tower in the weeks after the shocking November election results, Scaramucci sold SkyBridge capital in January, fueling rumors he was being considered for a position — though none was specified at the time — in the Trump administration.
And the rumors came: For job after job, unnamed sources prodded news outlets with assurances that, this time, “the Mooch” had found his way into the Trump administration.
Earlier this summer, Scaramucci was also briefly embroiled in the cyclone of talk about “fake news” after CNN published, and then retracted, a story about him meeting with the chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund.
As communications director, Scaramucci will take his cable-news-guest chops to the most important public relations job in government, and it’s not clear he has what it takes.
The office’s Obama-era occupant, Dan Pfieffer, did not return TPM’s requests for comment on Scaramucci’s appointment. But he made his doubts well known on Twitter:
I have a particular bias here but White House Communications Director is a much harder and more complicated job than campaign surrogate
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) July 21, 2017