I guess right about now would be a good time to revisit something Leighton Woodhouse wrote back in December, less than a month after Trump’s shocking upset of Hillary Clinton. I say that now is a good time because Woodhouse wrote back then about the transformation of Anthony Scaramucci from staunch Trump critic to big Trump booster, and Scaramucci has just been hired as the new White House commmuncations director.
Anthony Scaramucci — his friends call him “the Mooch” — is a blow-dried, gold ringed hedge fund trader straight out of Central Casting. Last summer, when Donald Trump dismissed finance people like him as parasitic swindlers who “move around papers,” Scaramucci snarled that Trump was “another hack politician” who would “probably make Elizabeth Warren his vice-presidential nominee,” considering his “anti-American” insults to the finance industry. “You’re an inherited money dude from Queens County,” the Mooch taunted Trump on the Fox Business Channel, doing his best impression of a guy asking another guy if he’d like to step outside for a minute.
Today, Scaramucci is a member of Trump’s presidential transition team.
Scaramucci’s journey from trash talker of presidential nominee Trump to economic advisor to President-elect Trump tracks Trump’s own abrupt transformation from firebrand populist outsider to Wall Street-friendly insider — an about-face that wasn’t just predictable but repeatedly predicted. As a man without an ideology, Trump is not a change agent but an opportunistic pragmatist. His goal is not to reshape the American economy or even the Republican Party, but to use the presidency to build his global brand and enrich himself and his family in the process. People like Scaramucci and Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s choice for Treasury Secretary, a former Goldman Sachs mortgage banker who made his fortune and his legend exploiting the pain of the foreclosure crisis, may have been odd choices for the grenade-lobbing, drain-the-swamp-and-burn-the-whole-system-down presidential candidate version of Donald Trump. But they’re just the right kind of advisors for the self-dealing, oligarchical, President-elect version of Trump: the real Trump, the one who will be crowned Leader of the Free World next month.
Trump’s original plan for Scaramucci was to place him as the director of the office of public liaison, but Reince Priebus reportedly objected to this, citing Mr. Scaramucci’s sketchy overseas investments. I’m not sure why, but it appears that Steve Bannon is also a firm opponent of “the Mooch.”
“This was a murdering of Reince and Bannon. They said Anthony would get this job over their dead bodies,” said one top White House official…
…Scaramucci will replace Mike Dubke, who resigned from the job in May. He is stepping into the role as the White House is battling multiple Russia-related investigations, including whether Trump campaign officials colluded with the Kremlin, and as the White House tries to revive the collapsed Obamacare repeal effort…
One source with knowledge of the conversations between Trump and Scaramucci said the latter’s likely new post could be read as a message to Priebus, a former RNC chairman who has not built a strong relationship with Trump.
“Just hiring Anthony is telling Reince beat it, go find another job,” said the source, who cited the tense relationship between the two.
The first casualty here isn’t the White House chief of staff or his white nationalist chief advisor. The first casualty is Sean “Spicy” Spicer, the former press secretary and land-speed record holder for brazen prevarication.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned Friday, following the appointment of wealthy financier Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director, according to a White House official.
Spicer’s abrupt and angry departure — which caught even senior West Wing staffers by surprise — reflects the latest upheaval in a White House that has been consumed by chaos and staff infighting since almost the day President Trump took office.
CNBC’s Washington Correspondent Eamon Javors reports that there’s a lot of internal dissent to this hiring from the press shop at the White House. These are folks who now work for Scaramucchi:
A source close to the WH press office just emailed me: "This is a joke. Trump wanted Scaramucchi on television as a surrogate."
— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) July 21, 2017
Surprising to me someone close to White House is calling this a "joke" + "there was simply no understanding by the president" of this job.
— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) July 21, 2017
Most of the early reaction on this hiring is focused on the departure of Spicer, but it looks like it could signal a far greater exodus, starting with Priebus and those loyal to Spicer, and perhaps extending even to Bannon who has been reportedly trying to keep his job through the August recess by maintaining a lower profile.
This is all happening, too, as Trump and his family lose people in their legal team. A lot of his nominees have given up recently and taken their names out of consideration for top posts.
With Special Counsel Robert Mueller closing in and Trump looking like a deer in the headlights, the levee looks compromised and we should expect more people to seek higher ground.
And, with that, I’ll leave you with this classic tribute to Sean Spicer’s short career in the Trump administration:
We’ll always have these memories.