Overnight, White House communications director Tony “Mooch” Scaramucci threatened to sic the FBI on chief of staff Reince Priebus for supposedly stealing documents that turned out to be in the public domain. That kind of royal screw up might be expected to produce a bit of contrition, but that would be back in the world where people still have some modicum of dignity or some scrap of humility.
Instead, when Scaramucci learned that Donald Trump’s dining arrangements had appeared on the internet, he went … insane seems too kind. As told by Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker, Scaramucci called him up to demand the scalp of whoever leaked this vital information.
“Who leaked that to you?” he asked. I said I couldn’t give him that information. He responded by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. “What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over,” he said. … “I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves,” he said. “You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”
Again, the contents of this “major catastrophe” were the names of Trump’s dinner companions. But Scaramucci wasn’t done. Not by a long shot.
“They’ll all be fired by me,” he said. “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he’ll be asked to resign very shortly.” The issue, he said, was that he believed Priebus had been worried about the dinner because he hadn’t been invited. “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said.
Scaramucci still wasn’t done. And his attack on Priebus came with Donald Trump’s approval.
Daily Beast: “White House officials and outside allies say the president is revelling in Scaramucci’s campaign against Priebus—undertaken through cable news appearances and a billow of tweets, some of which were subsequently deleted—and is thrilled to see a top staffer placing a publicly bombastic emphasis on White House leaks to the press, which consistently infuriate the president.”
Both Kellyanne Conway and Scaramucci have described Priebus as “gone” with Conway saying that both Priebus and everyone who came into the White House from the RNC are headed for the door.
Privately, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, has told people that Priebus is “gone” and that he is trying to figure out his next steps, a source with knowledge said. Her message is that White House staffers who came from the Republican National Committee, which Priebus ran before being named chief of staff, are out, and that the administration is “going back to Trump loyalists.”
But if the idea is to clear out the RNC riff-raff and bring things back to Team Trump, that doesn’t seem to offer any guarantee that the drama is going to diminish.
Scaramucci also told me that, unlike other senior officials, he had no interest in media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.” (Bannon declined to comment.)
There might be some who wondered about Donald Trump replacing Sean Spicer with Anthony Scaramucci. Those doubts have clearly lifted. No one—no one—could do a better job of channeling all the grace, restraint, and sheer class that is the Trump White House.
Oh, and Donald Trump wants you to know that while the children may be fighting, it’s only out of love.
President Donald Trump has cast aside stories about White House infighting, describing the leaks as employees bickering over “who loves me the most”.
Of course it is, Donnie. Of course it is.