President Donald Trump has been publicly feuding this week with an unusual opponent: a former top official in his administration who criticized the president’s recent visit to Ohio and Texas.
Anthony Scaramucci drew his former boss’ ire after a Thursday interview with MSNBC in which he said Trump was making the trips to cities healing from mass shootings all about him.
“The president didn’t do well on the trip. He’d probably be mad at somebody for saying that, maybe he’ll tweet something negative about somebody for saying that,” said Scaramucci, who made headlines for a days-long tenure as the White House communications director in 2017.
Since leaving the administration, Scaramucci — a noted media gadfly, like Trump and several other ex White House aides — has become a fixture on cable news and in political coverage offering his own analysis of Trump.
Speaking with MSNBC about Trump’s visits to Dayton and El Paso, Scaramucci said, “If the trip is being made about him and not the demonstration of compassion and love and caring and empathy for those people, then it becomes a catastrophe for him, the administration, and it’s also a bad reflection on the country.”
The president had been criticized by some for his aggrievement and seeming flippancy, including giving a thumbs-up while posing with a baby orphaned in the El Paso shooting. The president also took time to lash out at critics such as former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke and for bragging about the crowd size at his rallies while inside local hospitals (where the Washington Post reported that shooting victims in El Paso did not want to meet with him).
Scaramucci, 55, took his criticism on MSNBC a step further, calling those still working in the White House “a bunch of cowards” for not addressing their concerns directly with the president.
Just as he predicted, Trump, 73, did indeed tweet something negative: a multi-day rant, which began Saturday, accusing Scaramucci of trying to use his White House connections to extend his 15 minutes of fame.
.....other than the fact that this Administration has probably done more than any other Administration in its first 2 1/2 years of existence. Anthony, who would do anything to come back in, should remember the only reason he is on TV, and it’s not for being the Mooch!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 11, 2019
“Anthony Scaramucci, who was quickly terminated (11 days) from a position that he was totally incapable of handling, now seems to do nothing but television as the all time expert on ‘President Trump,’” Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday.
He continued, “Like many other so-called television experts, he knows very little about me other than the fact that this Administration has probably done more than any other Administration in its first 2 ½ years of existence. Anthony, who would do anything to come back in, should remember the only reason he is on TV, and it’s not for being the Mooch!”
Scaramucci quickly responded from his own Twitter account, claiming it had only been a matter of time before his friendly relationship with Trump soured.
“For the last 3 years I have fully supported the President,” he wrote on Sunday. “Recently he has said things that divide the country in a way that is unacceptable. So I didn’t pass the 100% litmus test. Eventually he turns on everyone and soon it will be you and then the entire country.”
He also shared a cartoon titled “Five Stages of White House Employment” that featured a staffer excitedly entering the job in a red hat — only to anger the president and leave with a knife in his back.
Scaramucci’s tweets continued into Monday, when he wrote that he eventually rescinded his support of Trump because of the president’s “divisive rhetoric.”
“To those asking, ‘What took so long?’ You’re right. I tried to see best in @realDonaldTrump based on private interactions and select policy alignment,” he wrote. “But his increasingly divisive rhetoric – and damage it’s doing to fabric of our society – outweighs any short-term economic gain.”
Responding to another tweet suggesting he also became vocal because Trump called him out, Scaramucci wrote, “He started attacking me personally because I started calling him out even more loudly and directly.”
On Monday afternoon, the president tweeted again to say that “Scaramucci, who like so many others had nothing to do with my Election victory, is only upset that I didn’t want him back in the Administration (where he desperately wanted to be).”
“Also, I seldom had time to return his many calls to me,” Trump added. “He just wanted to be on TV!”
To those asking, “what took so long?” You’re right. I tried to see best in @realDonaldTrump based on private interactions and select policy alignment. But his increasingly divisive rhetoric - and damage it’s doing to fabric of our society - outweighs any short-term economic gain.— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) August 12, 2019
Meanwhile, in addition to tweeting his feelings, Scaramucci continued to make the media rounds, telling multiple outlets he will not support Trump in the 2020 election.
“A couple more weeks like this and ‘country over party’ is going to require the Republicans to replace the top of the ticket in 2020,” he told the website Axios in an interview published Sunday. “[If he] doesn’t reform his behavior, it will not just be me, but many others will consider helping to find a replacement in 2020.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham told Axios in response: “It sounds like his feelings are hurt.”
Scaramucci also told the Washington Post he takes issue with the president’s inflammatory Twitter account.
“The guy sends out blatantly racist tweets. White supremacist. Racist. Those labels are bad for business,” Scaramucci said. “It means a reduction in the colors of people who want to vote for you. He’s upset about it because it’s bad for business.”
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In response to Trump’s attacks on Monday, Scaramucci retweeted him and wrote, “You are losing your fastball— very weak troll. Bullying is the most anti-American thing in our culture and it is emanating from the Oval Office.”
Scaramucci’s whirlwind stint in the White House began in July 2017 and ended just over a week later, though he still found time to fit in a anexpletive-laden interview with The New Yorker that ripped into some of his new colleagues.
In the two years since, he’s relayed the gig into a series of television, radio and speaking appearances on everything from Celebrity Big Brother to Real Time with Bill Maher. He also hosts a podcast, Mooch and the Mrs., with wife Deidre Ball.