Even by Icarus’s standards, that was a short flight. Anthony Scaramucci, who burst onto the national political scene pledging his love and loyalty to Donald Trump and promising to “fire everybody” in his new role as White House communications chief, is out after less than two weeks on the job.
His hiring, reportedly against the wishes of several Trump advisers, led immediately to Sean Spicer’s resignation as press secretary. A smooth turn in front of the cameras on his first day kicked off a wave of stories about Scaramucci’s potential to shake things up. Even after a profane late-night rant to The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza made him a national punchline, Scaramucci seemed to maintain his favored status, with Reince Priebus, one of the targets of his derision, being shown the door. In an ironic bit of reciprocity, however, Priebus’s exit led to the hiring of former General John F. Kelly, who made one of his first actions after being sworn in on Monday a meeting with Scaramucci to tell him he was dismissed.
Brought in to “reset” the Trump administration’s communications team, Scaramucci certainly had an impact. But the sort of man who talks about himself in the third person and pays $100,000 for 15 seconds of screen time in an Oliver Stone sequel was never going to last long in a White House now run by a man seeking to impose military discipline on a chaotic West Wing. The official statement on the move claimed that, “Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team.” One imagines that the language, had Scaramucci himself provided it, would have been a bit more “colorful.”
Below, more on Scaramucci’s short-lived run.
- First to the story: The New York Times’s Michael D. Shear, Maggie Haberman, and Glenn Thrush broke the story of Scaramucci’s ouster, reporting that Kelly had the backing of the president and his family in making the change.
- Displeasing the base: BuzzFeed’s Tarini Parti and Charlie Warzel report that Scaramucci’s brash style and pledge of loyalty to the president made him a favorite in the right-wing media sphere. Some of Trump’s biggest online defenders are sad to see “The Mooch” go.
- Kelly and the press: Politico’s Hadas Gold writes that John Kelly, the new White House chief of staff who forced Scaramucci out, respects the press, and “will try to develop more of a transactional, two-way approach to media relations.”
- Another “pivot”?: The New Yorker’s Lizza writes that Scaramucci’s dismissal shows Kelly may have “the rare ability to rein in Trump.”
Other notable stories
- In an excerpt from his new book, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake writes that the Republican party is in denial about Donald Trump.
- For CJR, Julia Dahl has a reflection on the human costs of the tabloid reporter’s pen, and how its use may impact subjects’ view of journalists.
- The LA Times’s David Ng reports that, for all its successes, Netflix is more than $20 billion in debt.
- In an interview with Poynter’s Ben Mullin, Splinter EIC Dodai Stewart says that she is not trying to build “the new Gawker.”
- The Atlantic’s Eliot A. Cohen weighs the downsides of John Kelly’s rise to chief of staff.