jueves, 27 de julio de 2017

Scaramucci: “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock”

Scaramucci declares war on Priebus, Bannon

The newly appointed communications director is intent on ‘fixing’ the West Wing — and ousting other top aides.

One person who talked to Anthony Scaramucci said he talks openly about getting rid of Reince Priebus.

Anthony Scaramucci, the flashy and sometimes profane Wall Street financier, was brought on as White House communications director last Friday. It’s already clear he’s a lot more than that.

In six days, he has launched a brutally edged campaign to identify White House leakers, threatened to “fire everybody” in the communications shop, and has declared war on chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Scaramucci, who boasted that he reports directly to President Donald Trump, has described his role as “fixing the place,” said one person who spoke with him this week.

And he’s wasting no time.

In a vulgar interview with The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza on Wednesday night, Scaramucci laced into Priebus for trying to “c--- block” him from a job in the White House, called him a “f------ paranoid schizophrenic,” and questioned Bannon’s loyalty.

“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own c---,” he said.

One person who talked with Scaramucci said he talks openly about getting rid of Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chairman whose job has appeared to be in jeopardy for months.

"He's got to go," this person said, summarizing Scaramucci’s comments about Priebus.

It’s unclear how the New Yorker interview will impact Scaramucci’s standing with Trump, but the president has already praised Scaramucci’s brawler instincts, including his ability to get a retraction from CNN on an article that linked Scaramucci to the Russia investigations. But his attacks on fellow aides are sure to draw some condemnations and questions about his own future in the West Wing.

Scaramucci suggested in a tweet on Thursday evening that he would pull back on the profanities, but he did not apologize. "I sometimes use colorful language. I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @realDonaldTrump's agenda. #MAGA," he wrote.

Later in the evening, he appeared to push some of the blame on Lizza. "I made a mistake in trusting in a reporter. It won't happen again," he tweeted.

Lizza, however, wrote in his piece that Scaramucci did not ask for the conversation to be off the record or on background.

One White House official described the incident as a bump in the road for Scaramucci — and said that there was no expectation that he would be fired or punished for the interview. Nor any expectation that Trump will be inflamed by it.

"He didn't say anything negative about Trump," this person said.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered a defense of Scaramucci on Fox News on Thursday evening, saying he's someone who's "very passionate" about Trump.

"This is a guy who sometimes uses colorful, and in many circles probably not appropriate language," Sanders said. "He's very passionate about the president and the president's agenda, and I think he may have let that get the best of him in that conversation."

Scaramucci’s arrival was described by one adviser as “a cannonball from a diving board into a pool.” With his brash outer-borough New York ethos and flair for showmanship, Scaramucci is perhaps more like Trump himself than anyone else on the White House staff — and his appointment is a clear signal that the president is walking away from his initial embrace of establishment Republicans familiar with Washington.

Instead, Trump is choosing the gut-driven approach that won him the presidency. And that especially doesn’t bode well for Priebus.

The chief of staff has seen his power base steadily erode, losing first his deputy Katie Walsh, who departed the administration in March and recently returned to the RNC, and then press secretary Sean Spicer, who resigned after it was clear that Scaramucci would be above him in the West Wing.

Some in the West Wing had thought it would be Priebus who would leave once the news of Scaramucci’s hiring broke.

In a potentially ominous sign, Priebus’ usual defenders in the White House seemed subdued on Thursday, a noticeable shift from earlier in the administration, when public criticism of the chief of staff was met with a rapid response. No one seemed empowered to defend Priebus, unlike in the early days, when two paragraphs in a story about him could prompt six or more phone calls.

One person who spoke with Priebus over the weekend said he’d wanted to make it to one year in the White House, but has settled for staying “at least through health care.”

One reason Priebus and his allies opposed Scaramucci coming on board was that they knew “he wouldn’t just be a comms person going on TV,” one West Wing official said.

Priebus has begun calling allies and asking for advice on whether he should stay in the job and how he should handle the situation, according to people familiar with the talks. One such call went to Speaker Paul Ryan earlier this week, who advised Priebus to stay and that the president needed him. “They speak often,” said Doug Andres, a Ryan spokesman, who declined to comment further.

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