Scaramucci And CNN Host Battle It Out During New WH Official’s First Week

White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci appears on CNN on July 26, 2017.
July 26, 2017 12:00 p.m.
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Before being named the new White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci was thrust into the spotlight when CNN reported that he was being investigated as part of the probe into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.

CNN apologized, retracted the story and fired three journalists. Scaramucci forgave the news outlet.

But during his first appearance on CNN’s New Day with Chris Cuomo as a White House official, Scaramucci and Cuomo — who are both Italian, a fact mentioned multiple times during the 30 minute interview — butted heads over every issue, repeatedly shouting over one another to speak and finally wrapping up with Scaramucci suggesting they should just “end the interview” now.

On health care

The conversation started out respectful, with the two discussing Republicans’ Obamacare repeal effort that cleared a procedural hurdle on Tuesday. Cuomo questioned whether the President actually knows what is in the plan that he keeps praising.

“I want to respectfully disagree with you,” Scaramucci said, before claiming that Trump understands the bill and knows change can’t be made overnight, which is why Senate Republicans are taking a repeal-first approach to health care.

“But here’s the thing, the step is only as good as the detail of the step. What is before the Senate right now has been scored and found grossly lacking in terms of securing the promise of the President,” Cuomo pressed.

Taking on the President’s classic tone, Scaramucci said, “We’re going to win so much, Chris. You’re going to get tired of us winning. Let’s go over what we did yesterday, we won yesterday.”

Cuomo questioned how he could call it a win when senators were forced to vote to move forward on a plan “they don’t understand.” Attempting to connect with the host, Scaramucci brought up their Italian roots.

“You and I actually grew up in a very similar neighborhood. We want things done ‘subito,’” he said.

“That means fast,” Cuomo clarified.

“You and I both want it done subito, but nothing gets done subito here,” he said.

“No, I want it done right. What the American people want is for this to to be done in a way that makes it better, not just a political win,” Cuomo said.

Scaramucci went on to call Cuomo an “establishmentarian journalist” who is “wedded to the establishmentarian bureaucratic sclerosis” in D.C., which he said are concepts the American people don’t like about Washington and why Trump was elected in the first place.

On Jeff Sessions

Discussing whether Trump was going to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, after a week of publicly berating Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, Scaramucci claimed the way the President had handled the situation was upfront. Cuomo pushed back against that suggestion because Trump has mostly used Twitter to attack his attorney general.

“I think it’s pretty upfront, he just happens to be sharing it with 113 million people,” Scaramucci said, arguing it was just the President’s “managerial style” and saying he didn’t know if Trump had spoken with Sessions in person about his issues.

“You don’t know the answer or the answer is ‘no they haven’t spoken?’”

“I’m not one of those obfuscators where I tell you I don’t know the answer and I actually know the answer,” Scaramucci said.

On leaks

But minutes later, Scaramucci decided to dodge a question. When asked if it was the President who asked him to fire a staffer on his communications team for leaking, Scaramucci said he wasn’t going to answer the question.

“Why? … What happened to being straight?,” Cuomo asked.

“I’m straightly straightly not answer your question,” Scaramucci said, a response Cuomo said suggests that it actually was Trump who told him to do it.

“Chris, I’ve already answered it, you’re just not a very derivative thinker,” he said.

The two went back and forth about whether Trump is really an “outsider” who’s come to “drain the swamp” of Washington, D.C. when he actually is one of the wealthiest people in the country.

“What definition of elite does Donald Trump not fit?” Cuomo asked.

Scaramucci argued Trump’s wealth is the “best thing about him,” saying he’s “wickedly wealthy” and still able to relate with regular people.

“He had a great gut during the campaign and now he has the mandate to make those problems he identified so well better,” Cuomo said.

Scaramucci then suggested they should “end the interview right there,” but not before getting one final dig in on the news network.

“That could be the best thing that’s been said about the President on CNN in six months. Being Italian I would actually hug you, but I’m in between you and this camera,” he said, adding if Cuomo kept saying “nice things” about the President then he would consider bringing him on the show.

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