Anthony Scaramucci – the Trump Administration’s latest communications director – may already be sowing the seeds of his own demise.
Over his first week on the job, the “Mooch” – as he is colloquially known – has engaged in a number of eyebrow-raising antics, including phoning a journalist to demand his sources, viciously attacking other Trump Administration officials, and casually tossing around acerbic sexism.
The most stunning of these bizarre actions was a late night call made to New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza, who had earlier tweeted about a dinner including Trump, Fox News conspiracy theorist Sean Hannity, Scaramucci, and media executive Bill Shine. Lizza cited an anonymous White House official when he tweeted the news tip.
Senior White House official tells me that Melania was also at the dinner tonight with Trump, Hannity, Shine, and Scaramucci.
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) July 27, 2017
Outraged that this meeting was publicly divulged, Scaramucci called Lizza and threatened to fire the Trump Administration’s entire communications staff unless the reporter handed over the name of his source.
“You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country,” Scaramucci reportedly said to Lizza, “So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”
This sort of direct attempt at interfering with a journalist’s most basic ethical responsibilities is a stunning display of strongman-esque political strategy. In that sense, it dovetails nicely with Trump’s ongoing war with the media and democracy.
During the call, Scaramucci kept pressing Lizza to divulge his source, going on to muse that it could be could be chief of staff Reince Priebus. “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci artfully told Lizza.
He then moved on to Bannon.
“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he remarkably said to Lizza, who – as a reminder – is a leading political reporter writing for one of the largest magazines in the United States.
While this tirade almost feels like a feature in the New Yorker’s Shouts & Murmurs satire section, it is – unbelievably – a truthful account of Trump’s unstable new communications director.
While Trump has indicated that he may shake up his staff and potentially fire Priebus, this kind of public acrimony thrown out by Scaramucci is going to make for one tremendously awkward work environment in the White House.