Monday 18 November 2019

Q&A: Anthony Scaramucci has left the White House after just 11 days, but why?

Scaramucci lasted less than two weeks in the job.

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

By Max McLean

Anthony Scaramucci only recently became Donald Trump’s White House communications director, but already he has left his position.

And despite the brief nature of his time in Trump’s administration, the 53-year-old certainly left an impression – but just what was behind his departure?

How long did he last?

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

If it seems like only 11 days have passed since Anthony Scaramucci parried questions from reporters and praised Trump in a 37-minute charm offensive, that’s because it really did last just 11 days.

The White House had been looking for a new communications director for several weeks before Scaramucci’s appointment, but struggled to attract an experienced Republican hand.

However, Scaramucci, who had no government experience, no experience crafting communication strategy, and who once called Trump a “hack politician,” did not last two weeks in the job.

Why did he go?

(Evan Vucci/AP)

A short White House statement read: “Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best.”

Indeed, Scaramucci was removed from his post just hours after Trump’s new chief of staff was sworn into office.

Earlier, in an Oval Office ceremony, Trump predicted Kelly, who previously served as Homeland Security chief, would do a “spectacular job”. Trump hopes Kelly, who replaces Reince Priebus, will bring discipline to an administration which has encountered plenty of difficulty in its first six months.

Why was he hired in the first place?

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

A very good question. It was reported that Scaramucci came in as part of a White House shake-up, with the Associated Press reporting that people familiar with staff changes said the outgoing Sean Spicer considered Scaramucci lacked the qualifications for the top communications job, and quit in protest.

The 53-year-old has known Trump for years, and his background was in Wall Street, having made a name for himself as a hedge fund manager who would appear on television.

In November 2016 he was named as one of president-elect Trump’s 16-person Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee, but whether he would have worked out in Trump’s administration, we’ll never know.

If he was there for that long, how controversial could he have been?

(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

While Spicer’s decision to resign over the appointment of the financier could be deemed a controversial start, Scaramucci did plenty of his own work when it came to ruffling feathers, making his views on Washington DC clear enough.

In an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis, he said: “One of the things I cannot stand about this town is the backstabbing that goes on here, OK? Where I grew up and the neighbourhood I’m from, we’re front-stabbers, we like to tell you exactly where we’re from and what we’re doing.”

He later added: “Because what happens here in Washington is people say one thing to your face but they don’t really mean it, and they say something else behind your back. OK, so what I like about the president is it’s actually good leadership to say the things to people’s faces, what he actually means, and then let’s resolve it or not resolve it. We’re either going to reconcile or going to go in different directions.”

Furthermore, AP reported that, in an interview published by The New Yorker on Thursday, Scaramucci accused former chief of staff Reince Priebus of being a “paranoid schizophrenic” and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon of trying to burnish his own reputation.

Scaramucci tweeted: “I sometimes use colorful language. I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @realDonaldTrump’s agenda.”

Has Trump tweeted?

Not exactly.

Trump hasn’t tweeted in direct reference to Scaramucci’s departure, but did tweet that there was: “No WH chaos!” The post was sent during what is clearly another tumultuous period in Trump’s presidency – is he moving any closer to a stable White House?

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