Friday 24 November 2017

The Mooch, who dared to eclipse The Donald, is ruthlessly dispatched

A photo Mr Scaramucci posted to Twitter of himself with Mr Trump on Air Force One on July 24
A photo Mr Scaramucci posted to Twitter of himself with Mr Trump on Air Force One on July 24

Nick Allen

Anthony Scaramucci's spell as White House communications director was the shortest and perhaps the most tumultuous in history.

In an ultimate example of living by the sword and dying by it, Mr Scaramucci rose to stratospheric prominence before being summarily dispatched by his boss, President Donald Trump, with utter ruthlessness after just 11 days.

White House insiders said Mr Trump had lost confidence and been "concerned" after Mr Scaramucci launched a foul-mouthed tirade to a journalist in which he lambasted other senior administration figures.

Mr Trump was also said to have been annoyed by Mr Scaramucci's seemingly unstoppable rise to celebrity, achieving an international media profile that in recent days had rivalled the president's own.

One person close to the administration said: "There is only one star in the White House."

Nicknamed "The Mooch" by friends and "Gucci Scaramucci" by former President George W Bush, the multi-millionaire former hedge fund boss was plastered across US tabloids in recent days. Revelations included that he was in the midst of a divorce from his second wife who was said to be no fan of Mr Trump, and to have decried Mr Scaramucci's "naked political ambition".

She was reported to have filed divorce papers while pregnant with their child, who was born last week.

When the child was born Mr Scaramucci reportedly sent a text saying: "Congratulations, I'll pray for our child."

Mr Scaramucci's road to the White House had been a long one after he was initially slated for a role following the inauguration in January.

He was blackballed then by Reince Priebus, Mr Trump's first chief of staff.

But this month Mr Priebus's star waned. His friend Sean Spicer was pushed out of being press secretary, and Mr Scaramucci was brought in as communications director.

But days into the job Mr Scaramucci conducted an on-the-record interview with a journalist from the 'New Yorker' magazine which was variously described by senior Republicans in Washington as "insane" and "nuts".

In it, he called Mr Priebus a "paranoid schizophrenic" and also launched a vulgar verbal assault against Steve Bannon, the White House chief strategist, and a hugely powerful enemy to make.

While he quickly secured Mr Priebus's resignation it was a pyrrhic victory for Mr Scaramucci.

Mr Trump subsequently appointed John Kelly, a former general, as chief of staff to bring military-style discipline to an unruly and dysfunctional White House beset by vicious internal rivalries.

According to insiders, Mr Kelly regarded Mr Scaramucci as "undisciplined".

For someone to be successful as chief of staff, they have to be the main point of contact between White House advisers and the president.

But Mr Scaramucci was determined to maintain his own direct access. As a result, Mr Kelly, on his first day in the job, asked the president to remove Mr Scaramucci from his role, and he did so.

Recent revelations about Mr Scaramucci's self-promotion included that he paid a reported $100,000 for a small part in 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps', the sequel to the film 'Wall Street'. He was in two scenes totalling 15 seconds.

Hours before his removal, bookmakers offered attractive odds that he would fail to make it to Christmas.

Explainer: Why was Anthony Scaramucci fired after 11 days and what has Donald Trump said?

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?

ipanews_93b5c300-c1c8-488a-9bc9-f22b105e891b_embedded33036
(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?

ipanews_93b5c300-c1c8-488a-9bc9-f22b105e891b_embedded33040
(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.

Read More: Scaramucci fired as White House communications boss as Trump denies chaos

Why was he hired in the first place?

ipanews_93b5c300-c1c8-488a-9bc9-f22b105e891b_embedded33039
(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?

ipanews_93b5c300-c1c8-488a-9bc9-f22b105e891b_embedded33042
(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.”

Read More: The Mooch, who dared to eclipse The Donald, is ruthlessly dispatched

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?

Telegraph.co.uk

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