Continuing a worrying pattern, yet another member of Trump’s White House has gotten the boot. This time the person of note is Anthony Scaramucci, the White House Communications Director, appointed just 10 days ago. “The Mooch” as he was nicknamed made a big splash in DC, but has spent the past couple of days mired in media drama due to interpersonal drama between him and several large figures in the Trump White House. To be clear, this isn’t all doom and gloom for The Mooch, as it has yet to be clear if he will be fired from the White House completely, or is simply getting removed from his position of Communications Director for PR reasons. This marks the 3rd firing in the past week or so, and it signifies a worrying trend that might lead to President Trump’s downfall come 2020.
What’s Going On?
The removal of Anthony Scaramucci follows the removal of Reince Priebus as the White House Chief of Staff, and the former Communications Director Sean Spicer. This entire week has felt like one giant 4-D chess game, with every figure seeming to try to outsmart the others, and as of now it seems that Steve Bannon still came out on top, as all of his rivals have resigned. To sum up who was playing who, Sean Spicer was hired as Comm Director at the request of Reince Priebus, who is a very powerful establishment Republican who opposed Trump all through the election process until Trump finally won the primary, where Priebus then hopped aboard the Trump Train, finessing his way into the Chief of Staff position. Sean Spicer followed a chain of command, filtering communication to Trump through Priebus and other White House staffers, and then passing information on to the White House press. We all know Spicer’s time as Comm Director was riddled with errors and missteps, and it became more and more clear that the man wasn’t cut out to handle pressure of working for the most controversy ridden White House in our lifetimes. Ultimately, President Trump would tweet something brash at 3 A.M., and the rest of Spicer’s day would involve trying to cover for the President to the media who has seemingly made it their mission to slander and rebel against Trump at every moment.
This continued for months until Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner recommended that the President hire the smooth talking businessman from Long Island, Anthony Scaramucci. Trump considered hiring him from day one of his presidency, but Priebus kept pressuring Trump to stick to more establishment GOP members, and Bannon pushed for more Nationalist, anti-establishment picks. Trump eventually hired Scaramucci, and upon doing so Sean Spicer resigned, claiming to clear room for The Mooch, but many raised questions over whether there were personal conflicts going on as well. In his incredibly successful first press conference, The Mooch dazzled reporters with rapid fire and smooth talking responses, but also stepped on some feet by bragging about how he only reported to the President, not to the Chief of Staff. A few days later and Scaramucci was getting interviewed by the New York Post, and throughout the interview he used an incredible amount of expletives as he alluded to the fact that Priebus might be getting the boot soon. He also greatly insulted Steve Bannon in the same interview, causing Bannon’s Breitbart to publish several articles that both diminished Scaramucci while also implying that he had too much influence over Trump. This cued a closely watched dispute, which resulted in the removal of Reince as Chief of Staff, and the hiring of General John Kelly to replace him. All seemed clear for Scaramucci, but the drama didn’t stop there. Kelly made claims that he was upset by Scaramucci’s insistence on reporting only to Trump, and not the Chief of Staff, and felt that The Mooch had both stirred up too much controversy and soured the President’s favor too much to retain his position. The Mooch’s position is currently open (Scarmaucci’s contract didn’t start until August 15th) but rumors are that conservative radio host Laura Ingraham will take over the job.
A Different Kind of Revolving Door
The strange thing about all these firings is less that Trump is doing them, and more that people are surprised. Watch the Apprentice again, and you’ll see Trump in his element, giving out business advice, showing off his lavish lifestyle, and yes, firing people. Trump makes it very clear in that show that if you don’t meet the necessary standards in the real world, you get fired. Business isn’t a college course or a family endeavor, you either succeed and enjoy the riches or fail and pack your bags. Trump’s probably hired and fired hundreds of people in his day, so I can totally see why he thinks his behavior is appropriate and necessary. I also wrote in an earlier blog that Trump is the epitome of American political pragmatism, valuing results over ideals. While when looking at the bottom line this method excels, politics is all about looking at the details and obsessing over how things look and what they mean. Right now, it feels as if all the decisions Trump has made supports a view of results over loyalty, which isn’t a good look for the President of the United States to have.
While almost every real conservative was for the removal of Priebus as Chief of Staff, they’re also against the White House looking weak or disorganized. By the time the public has caught up on the news of one person getting hired, it feels as if two more are fired. At first, all of these decisions seemed necessary, either in an attempt to drain the swamp or feel out the position, but as of right now working for the White House is no longer an appealing position. Taking a job on Pennsylvania Avenue could only last ten days if you follow in Scaramucci’s tracks, and there are three and a half years left of Trump being the President. While it’s obvious that untrustworthy or underperforming people need to be let go, it feels as if the hiring process has just become a game, with no real merit or vetting taken into account before people are allowed to work in the White House. Obviously, as always, the media makes things worse, but the President needs to slow things down and get his team sorted out.
I feel really bad for Anthony Scaramucci, even more so than I felt for Sean Spicer. Reports have been released that Scarmucci’s wife is divorcing him because she felt that he has become a shill for political power, and it even came out that The Mooch missed the birth of his son to handle business in the White House. Scaramucci really put everything on the line with his new position, and while things might actually be for the better because of the fires he started, he unfortunately got caught in the inferno himself. To look at The Mooch’s career in a lighter note, famous political consultant Roger Stone called Scaramucci a “political suicide bomber”, pointing out that he managed to take out two establishment Republicans and that he effectively did his part in draining the swamp. Other journalists pointed out that between his leak witch hunt and his removal of Priebus and Spicer, The Mooch got more accomplished in 10 days than the entirety of Congress has done in 7 months. Although hilarious, this does play into the concern everyone has that Trump is spiraling out of control.
While the President shouldn’t concern himself with what the media thinks, when even sites and figures that always side with Trump get concerned over Scaramucci’s firing, you know something went wrong. I always make it a point to be objective with my handling of Trump, and lately I have to say these steps seem detrimental to the long run. What I liked about Trump’s statements in the beginning was that he made it clear he was an outsider, and that he would be assembling the best team possible to educate him and take on the task of fixing the nation. While great in principle, this process has been marred with mistakes, and it’s starting to wear on both the President and his reputation. You can’t win a game with just one all-star player, you need a well functioning team who all trust each other. Instead, we have a player who peaked in college, and a bunch of attention hogs who bought their way on the team. As funny as it is to point and laugh at the chaos in the White House right now, we have to remember that all these events play out on the national stage, and the more foolish we look the more it hurts our reputation. In a time where China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and even North Korea are strengthening and making moves against us, we need to be at our best selves, not our worst, the future of our nation depends on it.