viernes, 21 de julio de 2017

Scaramucci, repeatedly denied a White House role, finally sees a reward

The Wall Street financier and Trump donor was named Trump's communications director after being blocked for other West Wing roles.


White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon confronted Anthony Scaramucci in the West Wing on Friday morning, threatening to block the financier’s appointment as Trump’s communications director.

Scaramucci laughed it off, according to a person familiar with the exchange, because he knew something they didn’t: He already had the job.

For Scaramucci, the appointment completed a remarkable journey that saw him rumored for one senior administration job after another only to see the offers slip away amid internal opposition from Priebus and others.

Now the telegenic Scaramucci, a fast-talking fixture on the international circuit from Davos, Switzerland, to his own lavish hedge fund conference in Las Vegas, is at the center of power in the chaotic Trump White House. He is now charged with repairing a toxic relationship between the press and a president who regularly rips what he calls the “fake news media.”

At a White House briefing on Friday, Scaramucci—widely referred to as “The Mooch”—spoke repeatedly of his “love” for the president, to whom he said he will report. “I think there has been at times a disconnect between the way we see the president and how much we love the president and the way perhaps some of you see the president,” he said.

Invoking Wall Street lingo, he added that there might an “arbitrage spread between how well we are doing and how well some of you guys think we are doing and we are going to work hard to close that spread.”

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Scaramucci said he hopes that press secretary Sean Spicer – who resigned Friday after registering his own opposition to Scaramucci’s appointment – will go on “to make a tremendous amount of money.” He also repeatedly expressed his desire to work closely with Priebus, who he said he’d been “personal friends” with for years. “We are a little bit like brothers where we rough each other up once and a while,” he said, noting that he once offered Priebus a job at his hedge fund firm.

He said deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be elevated to replace Spicer, who will leave in August. “The Navy S.E.A.L.s will tell you that if you want to eat an elephant, you’ve got to do it one bite at a time and Sarah and I will do that together,” he said.

People who know Scaramucci say he could be a good fit for this new challenging role. A relentless networker who emerged as a major conduit of Wall Street cash to GOP candidates in recent years, Scaramucci generally likes and respects reporters and understands they have a job to do, people inside and outside the White House say.

He is a fierce counter-puncher who emerged in recent months as a Trump favorite for his television appearances defending the president. But he also likes engaging with the press and wants to present the White House message in a positive way rather than get dragged into daily scrums.

“When I first met him, within moments he drilled down into who I was, where I was from and what my world view was,” said Stu Loeser, who served as spokesman for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and now runs his own advisory firm. “He’s an incredibly charming person. And right now you have a White House that is so angry at its press corps, and vice versa, that it’s impossible for them to interact in even the smallest way and have positive movement forward.”

One White House official who backed Scaramucci’s appointment said of the former hedge fund manager: “He gets that we have a First Amendment in this country and that reporters are just trying to do their jobs.”

Critics of Scaramucci’s appointment, including Spicer, argue that the former Wall Street executive has no real communications experience and could flounder in the very difficult job of representing a boss who often ignores messaging advice and simply says whatever he wants whenever he wants no matter what it means for his struggling agenda.

And Scaramucci hasn’t always embraced the same commitment to transparency he talked about from the podium on Friday. A few years ago, while interviewing PR firms, he was blunt about what he was looking for, according to one person present for the meeting. During the 90-minute meeting, Scaramucci told this person: “I need someone who’s prepared to go to the mat and lie for me.”

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