Inside Scaramucci’s short tenure as White House communications director
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Ten days after the announcement of his appointment, Anthony Scaramucci is out as White House communications director.
Scaramucci, whose role formally began only last Wednesday, July 26, dominated the headlines in the short amount of time he was in the position.
Here’s what led to his resignation Monday:
Scaramucci accepted President Donald Trump’s offer of the position of White House communications director, replacing Mike Dubke, who resigned in May only three months after being hired.
In a statement, Trump said Scaramucci was someone “he had great respect for.”
“He has been a great supporter and will now help implement key aspects of our agenda while leading the communications team,” Trump’s statement read.
Scaramucci’s hiring caught senior members of the White House staff off guard, including press secretary Sean Spicer and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who were unaware that Scaramucci was being considered for the post, senior White House sources told ABC News at the time. Spicer resigned just hours after the announcement, later telling ABC News he was feeling “relieved” and believed his resignation would give the team a “fresh start.”
During the Friday on-camera briefing, Scaramucci attempted to put to rest any rumors of tensions with Priebus, saying that he had a longstanding relationship with him.
“There’s been some speculation in the press about me and Reince so I just want to talk about that very quickly. Reince and I have been personal friends for six years. We are a little bit like brothers where we rough each other up once in a while, which is totally normal for brothers,” Scaramucci said.
Scaramucci also apologized for comments he made about Trump during an appearance on Fox Business in 2015, including calling him a “hack politician” and saying “I don’t like the way he talks about women.”
“One of the biggest mistakes that I made because I was an unexperienced person in the world of politics, I was supporting the other candidate,” Scaramucci said at the briefing. “I should have never said that about him.”
Just a day after accepting the job, Scaramucci went on a Twitter cleaning spree, deleting old tweets that he claimed “shouldn’t be a distraction.”
Most of the tweets the prominent Wall Street financier deleted revolved around his opposing views to Trump on gun rights and immigration.
Scaramucci tweeted multiple times about increasing gun control in the U.S. In August 2012, he tweeted, and has since deleted, “We (the USA) has 5% of the world’s population but 50% of the world’s guns. Enough is enough. It is just common sense it apply more controls(.)”
On July 8, 2015, he tweeted, “Daily liquidity in alts = keeping a gun in home. Illusion of security, but more likely to cause you harm.” That tweet was deleted but it has been archived on the Trump Twitter Archive.
The tweets are at odds with Trump’s views on gun rights, with the president repeatedly stressing his support of the Second Amendment, including telling the National Rifle Association members in April in Atlanta that he would “never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
In December 2015, Scaramucci tweeted — and has since deleted — a photo of the Berlin Wall preserved in the Newseum in Washington and wrote, “Walls don’t work. Never have never will. The Berlin Wall 1961-1989 don’t fall for it.”
The tweet clashes with Trump’s key campaign promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border. The House recently passed a $788 billion spending bill that combines a $1.6 billion down payment for Trump’s wall with a whopping budget increase for the Pentagon.
Scaramucci faced criticism for his comments on CNN’s “State of the Union” that appeared to be directed at newly minted White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.
“The only thing I ask Sarah, Sarah if you’re watching, I love the hair and makeup person that we had on Friday, so I’d like to continue to use the hair and makeup person,” Scaramucci said.
Scaramucci later clarified on Twitter, “For the record, I was referring to my hair and make up and the fact that I like the make up artist. I need all the help I can get!”
“The TV Cameras are back on,” Scaramucci tweeted, after weeks of mostly off-camera briefings.
The TV 📺🎥Cameras are back on.
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) July 24, 2017
Speaking to reporters outside the West Wing, Scaramucci boldly declared he would consider cleaning house to stop leaks to the press.
“I’m going to fire everybody, that’s how I’m going to do it. You’re either going to stop leaking or you’re getting fired,” Scaramucci warned.
Following those remarks, Michael Short resigned from his position as assistant press secretary in the first indications of a shake-up in the press office.
Scaramucci called Ryan Lizza, a reporter for The New Yorker, in the evening to find out who had told the reporter that Trump and first lady Melania Trump were having dinner with former Fox News executive Bill Shine and Fox News host Sean Hannity, according to Lizza’s July 27 piece. When Lizza said he wouldn’t divulge his source, Scaramucci threatened to fire the entire communications team, according to the article.
Lizza quoted Scaramucci as saying, “Yeah, let me go, I’ve gotta start tweeting some s— to make this guy crazy.” The comment appeared to be referring Priebus as shortly after Scaramucci posted on Twitter that his financial disclosure information had been illegally leaked, tagging Priebus’ Twitter account at the end. Scaramucci deleted the tweet hours later.
Lizza then posted a tweet, writing, “In case there’s any ambiguity in his tweet I can confirm that Scaramucci wants the FBI to investigate Reince for leaking.”
In case there's any ambiguity in his tweet I can confirm that Scaramucci wants the FBI to investigate Reince for leaking.
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) July 27, 2017
Scaramucci tweeted again shortly after Lizza.
“Wrong! Tweet was public notice to leakers that all Sr Adm officials are helping to end illegal leaks. @Reince45,” Scaramucci posted, together with a screengrab of an article headlined, “Scaramucci appears to want Priebus investigated by FBI.”
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) July 27, 2017
Scaramucci also appeared on “Fox & Friends” in the morning, stressing that he would have to “crack down on leaks on a number of different fronts” and that they were an “indictment on the institution of the presidency.”
Scaramucci told CNN in the morning that he and Trump had a “very good idea” of the identity of the “senior leakers in the White House.”
“As you know from the Italian expression, the fish stinks from the head down. But I can tell you two fish that don’t stink. That’s me and the president,” Scaramucci said on CNN.
He then directly referenced Priebus and said, “We have had odds, we have had differences.”
“When I said we were brothers from the podium, that’s because we’re rough on each other — some brothers are like Cain and Abel,” he said, referencing a biblical passage that ends in Cain killing Abel. “Other brothers can fight with each other and then get along. I don’t know if this is repairable or not. That will be up to the president.”
Later that day, however, the New Yorker published details of Scaramucci’s phone call with Lizza, including an expletive-laced rant against Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.
In the article, Lizza reported that Scaramucci called Priebus a “f—— paranoid schizophrenic.”
“I sometimes use colorful language. I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @realDonaldTrump’s agenda,” Scaramucci tweeted in response to the article, though he notably did not apologize for anything that was said.
Scaramucci later added on Twitter that he wouldn’t make the mistake of trusting a reporter again.
I made a mistake in trusting in a reporter. It won't happen again.
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) July 28, 2017
Traveling on Air Force One with the president, Scaramucci would not comment on the New Yorker article.
“Come on, that was not fair,” he told reporters when asked about it. “You know that was not fair.”
Scaramucci also canceled his scheduled appearance at the Politicon in Los Angeles that was slated for Saturday, July 29.
“While Anthony Scaramucci decided to cancel his scheduled appearance at Politicon this year, the beauty of Politicon is that we have dozens of huge names that political junkies will love. … At least now we don’t have to worry about violating any local obscenity laws!” Politicon organizers said in a statement.
That same day, it was announced that Priebus had resigned as chief of staff and that retired Gen. John Kelly, previously the secretary of homeland security, would replace him.
Sources told ABC News that Scaramucci offered his resignation to Kelly with a request to be redeployed as chief strategy officer at the Export Import Bank. The resignation came hours after Kelly was sworn in as Trump’s chief of staff.
“Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team,” a statement from Sanders read. ”We wish him all the best.”
Sanders later elaborated at the press briefing, saying that the president felt that comments made by Scaramucci “were inappropriate for a person in that position, and he didn’t want to burden Gen. Kelly also with that line of succession. As I think we’ve made clear a few times over the course of the last couple days to several of you individually, but Gen. Kelly has the full authority to operate within the White House and all staff will report to him.”
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