Scaramucci Does the Fandango
I have what I am sure will be an unpopular theory about Anthony Scaramucci, and it is this: that Anthony Scaramucci actually knows what he’s doing. And if I am right about this — and I very much believe that I am — it’s actually far more troubling than the already-troubling, more popular narrative that he’s a complete idiot who has no idea what he’s doing.
But before I let my counter-intuitive, contrarian, Bizarro-World-Scott-Adams freak flag fly, allow me to give some background for those who have not been watching the Scaramucci story unfold over the past week.
Last week it was announced that President Trump had hired ex-Goldman Sachs financier and Fox News host Anthony Scaramucci to be the White House Communications Director. It was an especially odd choice, even for an administration marked by odd choices; consequently it raised more than a few eyebrows. Odder still was that Scaramucci appeared to have been granted full Chief-of-Staff powers and responsibilities by the President, despite the fact that the White House had an actual Chief of Staff (Reince Priebus).
Scaramucci’s primary footprint on the world up until recently has been that of a poor man’s Tony Robbins, authoring books with titles such as Hopping Over the Rabbit Hole: How Entrepreneurs Turn Failure Into Success and Goodbye Gordon Gekko: How to Find Your Fortune Without Losing Your Soul. A few years ago, he used the assets of his investment firm, Sky Bridge Capital, to acquire the rights to the TV show Wall Street Week, a vanity project which allowed him to hire himself as its host. If there was a cliched caricature that readily fit Scaramucci over the years, it was probably Guy Who Really, Really Wants to Be Famous.
Prior to Trump’s inauguration, Scaramucci had been nominated to the low-level office of Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs — a position ostensibly charged with interfacing with lobbyists supportive of whoever is in the White House. That nomination was unceremoniously and quickly rescinded; by all accounts it was Priebus himself who scuttled the offer. Rumors for why Priebus might have done this range from worries that Scaramucci’s brash and tone-deaf style might alienate the President’s special interest allies, to concerns that Scaramucci was little more than an intellectual lightweight with really nice hair, to Scaramucci’s constant public insulting of candidate Trump right until the moment when it appeared Trump might win.
But as head-scratching as the idea of hiring of Scaramucci to essentially be White House Chief of Staff might have been, it’s nothing compared to the Scaramucci’s own actions over the past week since accepting the position, which have been nothing less than bizarre.
How bizarre, you ask?
Immediately after Scaramucci’s hiring was announced, many reporters began noting that he had a long history of disparaging Donald Trump. On Fox, to take one example, he called Trump an “Anti-American” “hack,” dismissing him as “an inherited money dude from Queens County” who was so awful a candidate and human being that he was likely “a Democratic plant for Hilary Clinton.” While he could not do much about video records that Fox held the rights to, he could and did systematically delete his own tweets saying similar things about the Donald. When this deleting was reported, he quickly claimed he had not in fact deleted anything, apparently unaware that screen shots and archiving exist. Then, when faced with proof that he was deleting tweets, he shifted his narrative and claimed — bizarrely — that he was deleting them out of a sense of full transparency.
It got worse.
Politico reviewed Scaramucci’s financial disclosure form, and discovered that his sale of Sky Bridge Capital, necessary to work as a White House staffer, was structured in such a way that he would continue to be paid profits during his tenure as Communications Director. Scaramucci went on air and said that the disclosure form was leaked by an enemy within the White House, and that such a leak was a felony. In fact, his disclosure form was obtained by Politico from the Office of Government Ethics, and — like all other White House disclosure forms — is available to any US citizen who requests it. 1 Later, in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union, he alluded to a anonymous expert on Russian intelligence Donald Trump trusted, who Scaramucci said could not name — and then a minute later spilled the beans that the anonymous expert of Russia that Donald Trump trusted was in fact Donald Trump. He also spent the week announcing staffers firings on CNN and Fox, without ever bothering to inform the staffers he was firing on national television.
Then, with the weekend approaching, Scaramucci did two interviews with the press that made many wonder if the new White House Communications Director might be in waaaaay over his head.
The first was with the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, whom Scaramucci called out of the blue. Lizza has tweeted a background-sourced comment that Scaramucci, Trump, Sean Hannity, and former Fox News exec Bill Shine were having dinner. As anonymous sourced insights into power go, it was pretty damn tepid, a nothing-burger that would have been public record hours later anyway. Still, Scaramucci was incensed, and demanded Lizza give up his source, oddly threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff if Lizza didn’t confess that it was Priebus. Other personal highlights from that interview: Scaramucci called Priebus “a fucking paranoid schizophrenic” who was “cock-blocking” him,” explained that Steve Bannon “suck[s] his own cock,” claimed that the FBI and the DOJ were investigating his enemies to get dirt on them at his request, and, perhaps worst of all, apparently refers to himself in the third person as “the Mooch.”
That unscheduled interview was followed up by a 27-minute humdinger the next morning on CNN’s New Day with Chris Cuomo. Seemingly damage control over the then-published account of Lizza;s interview, Scaramucci called in to the show unprompted to set the record straight. He then went wildly back and forth between claiming that he and Priebus were brothers of the soul whose love knew no bounds, to insisting that Priebus was essentially a back-stabbing rat-fucker whose ruin would come by Scaramucci’s own hands. He claimed his “buddies” in the FBI were helping him scare the “knee knockers” in the White House that were out to get him. He seemed confused that Cuomo was not on his side, as they were both Italian-Americans.
I could go on, but I won’t. The truth about both interviews is that there is simply no way I can do them justice. To understand why so many people believe Scaramucci is either unfit for his office, mentally unhinged, shockingly paranoid, a narcissistic-personality-disorder-level pathological liar, or some combination of all of the above, you really need to read the whole New Yorker piece and watch the whole CNN interview. If you take the time to do both, you’ll see why people think these things about Anthony Scaramucci.
But here’s the thing: I don’t actually think he’s any of those things.
I think Anthony Scaramucci is really, really intuitive. Moreover, I think Anthony Scaramucci is the first White House staffer who truly understands the President as a person, who inwardly fully accepts and acknowledges Trump’s temperament rather than makes self-deceiving excuses for it, and who has figured out how to best harness both of those things for his own personal gain. And to be clear: if I’m right, it’s actually worse than if everyone else is.
To explain, let me start off by making a claim — one that seems obvious to me, but that I have not seen reported or speculated on by anyone else covering this story: When Anthony Scaramucci talks to the press or does television interviews, he isn’t really talking to the press or the television audience. He isn’t really talking to the American People. He’s really just talking directly to one person and one person only: President Donald J. Trump.
One of the assumptions made by everyone after Lizza published his New Yorker piece was that Scaramucci was such a neophyte that he didn’t understand that if one wants comments to be off the record one has to explicitly state that. Why else would have have said such things? This theory was buttressed by a Tweet from the WH Com Director lamenting, “I made a mistake trusting in a reporter. It won’t happen again.” But this morning the New Yorker clarified that Scaramucci had requested upfront that certain parts of his interview be off the record, and that the New Yorker honored that request. Scaramucci, in other words, had known at the time that what he was saying was going to be quoted, and, one had to assume, wanted to be quoted.
Why? Because he was telling Donald Trump both exactly what Donald Trump wanted to hear, and exactly what Anthony Scaramucci wanted Donald Trump to believe.
Listen to the CNN interview. Scaramucci says over and over again that his relationship with Trump isn’t a professional one and that he doesn’t think of Trump as a boss. He and Trump, Scaramucci says over and over for half an hour, are good friends. Great friends. The kind of friends who don’t care about what the other does or says, because they are just buddy-buddy friends, now and forever. It’s a creepy, bizarre, and entirely inappropriate thing for a White House staffer to say about most Presidents. But Donald Trump isn’t most Presidents. He’s known for having both a thin skin and a demand for unreturned, toadying loyalty from his underlings. And he’s incredibly credulous about it, which is why he bought hook, line, and sinker Scaramucci’s explanation for his trashing Trump, despite the fact that the timeline of said trashing clearly proves that explanation wrong. This also explains why Scaramucci goes off the deep end in both interviews with effusive praise for the President. Trump isn’t just a man of good judgement and temperament, but one of historical levels of those very qualities. Trump isn’t just smart, he may be the smartest person ever of all time.
There are, too, Scaramucci’s ever-repeating insistences that anyone in the White House who does not support Scaramucci is a secretly an enemy of Trump, working only to destroy the President and his legacy. In addition, there is the repeated claim by Scaramucci that when he is alone with the President, he isn’t being a yes-man to Trump but rather bravely telling Trump the Truth he needs to hear, damn the consequences. Which is an odd thing to keep saying unprompted in an interview where no one is asking what Scaramucci is saying to Trump in private, and where everything else Scaramucci is saying just so happen to agree with and/or flatter the President.
There is also this: If you google videos of Anthony Scaramucci talking on camera in years past, he has an extremely polished speaking style. It’s fluid, almost silky, underscoring his carefully cultivated Poor-Man’s-Tony-Robbins image. But when you listen to Scaramucci on the CNN interview, his speech had changed dramatically in almost every way. He has a different rhythm, a different vocabulary, a different way of emphasizing points. When I was first listening to the CNN piece, I wondered if he might be nervous. (I certainly would be, if I’d been quoted saying things like he had in the New Yorker.) But after a few minutes it hit me, and I realized that I actually did recognize this new rhythm, this stilted vocabulary, this oddly chaotic structure of response. Anthony Scaramucci didn’t sound different because he was nervous. He sounded different because he was mirroring exactly the speaking style of Donald Trump.
Anthony Scaramucci thinks he can control the White House by being a more efficient and effective toady than anyone else in the building. And he’s likely 100% correct.
After covering the campaign, I’ve made two points repeatedly to friends who ask what I think is going on in the White House on any given day. The first, initially universally denied but now universally accepted by the White House and the GOP, was that most of the anonymous “government officials” being quoted in the press would eventually be discovered to have been Trump-hired White House staffers, not old Obama hires in other agencies. This is because Trump, for whatever reasons, seems to value highly both toadying and backstabbing among his underlings even when it damages his brand, and richly rewards such behavior. The second point is that you really have to take all “leaked” comments from the White House with a large grain of salt, even if that leak tells you something damaging about Trump, Bannon, Spicer, or whoever that confirms your low opinion of them. Every leak might well be true; it might also just be a way of “leaking” something entirely fabricated in order to stick a knife in a rival and move up half a notch in the Trump-toadying hierarchy.
That someone like Anthony Scaramucci was going to come along and take advantage of this dysfunction wasn’t just possible; it was inevitable. And if I’m right, the attempts by career people like Priebus to be a steadying influence on White House policy are about to be tossed out like so much dirty bathwater, to be replaced by someone whose sole ambition, as best I can tell, is to personally enrich themselves at the expense of the country by encouraging the President of the United States to do the same.
Mark my words: we are going to miss Reince Priebus.
Boom! goes the dynamite.Report
Heh. That is exactly what I came here to say. Good call, OurTod.Report
I have so many questions:
Did Trump bother to tell Priebus before tweeting? I’m thinking no.
How many hours before Priebus is being interviewed by Mueller?
How big will the book deal Priebus gets be?
Just how will Trump blame the failure of Obamacare repeal on Priebus?Report
So, Jeff Sessions is safe until the next time something happens that frustrates Trump?Report
I think Sessions is safe because certain Senators have assured Trump that they won’t confirm another AG if he fires Sessions.Report
One line of speculation has Sessions making a lateral move to Homeland Security to replace Kelly, but who knows if the Senate would go for that.Report
I’m not sure Sessions would see that as a lateral move even if they could get the Senate to bite on it.Report
It is by convential standards a demotion, to go from one of the big 4 (State,Defense, Treasury, Justice) to another cabinet position. I don’t recall anyone that has done it.Report
I rather like your theory, Tod. My read of those interviews was “wow, he’s doing a lot of sucking up to Trump”.Report
Yea, the hat-in-hand nature of that first briefing showed he was kissing feet and working hard to ingratiate himself above all else to his Trumpiness.Report
So let me get this straight. I read the article at 1:45. Client meeting at 2:00. I come out from the client meeting at 2:51 and the OP has already been proven right?
Way to go, @R-Tod!Report
Great thoughts my Tod! It’s so delightful to see you about.Report
God, you could not make this shit up!
Now, if only we could have an economic collapse, an invasion, or giant motherf***ing asteroid plunge towards earth.
And then I see this.
You couldn’t write a screenplay like this EVAR. I really really should have voted for Trump. I’d enjoy all this a tad bit more than I currently do.Report
I have no particular knowledge of this guy. I was not consciously aware of him until a few days ago. But it has been obvious to me for a while that someone with no pretense of governance–good or bad–and willing to go all in on the sycophancy could do well in this administration.
The saving grace of this administration and Republicans in congress is the incompetence. Their intent is evil, but they are too inept to implement their intent. We just watched Congress spin its wheels for six months trying and failing to pass a health care bill–any health care bill at all–despite this having been their signature issue for the past seven years. In all that time they never gave any thought to the matter of what they would pass, given the opportunity. Furthermore, their other signature issue of tax cuts for rich people was predicated on their gutting health care first and paying for the tax cuts with the savings. This has been their signature issue since the Reagan administration, and yet they screwed it up. I expect that they will manage to lower taxes for rich people some way or the other, but really, now.
Of course this approach to governance has the downside of putting nuclear weapons in the hands of petulant incompetents. There is non-trivial risk here. In hope that the Pentagon has implemented some highly unofficial procedure to prevent us from nuking Paris in a fit of Trumpian pique. This also relates to my assessment that Trump is unlikely to be removed from office via impeachment, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the 25th Amendment activated.Report
I just want to point out: Skinny repeal only came close to passing because Ryan promised them the House wouldn’t vote on it. And the bill that passed the House only passed because Ryan assured enough people that the Senate wouldn’t pass that bill.
Both chambers are kicking the can to each other, and it’s only the promise of “Someone else will make it better, this vote bill won’t become law” that gets them close to (or at) a simple majority!
That’s how screwed the GOP is on this issue. They have no consensus internally. They’re not even close.
I suspect tax cuts are going to be worse without that Health Care money to play around with — they’re either going to have to adopt 10 year sunsets, or they’re going to have to look at really popular deductions. I’d put money down on them going with sunsets, because I don’t think they have any workable consensus on a neutral plan that’ll pass reconciliation.Report
Of course, Ryan’s promise was largely worthless. Under House rules, any member can make a motion to concur and have it voted on. Ryan might claim to have his caucus under sufficient control to keep such a motion from passing, but unexpected things can happen.
Long ago, when I was in some sort of high school thing visiting the state capital in Nebraska, one of the members of the unicameral there was espousing the virtues of a single chamber: “You take every piece of every bill very seriously, because there’s no other chamber to fix your mistakes.”
I’d also bet on temporary tax cuts.Report
Or they’re going to ignore other buget / deficit control rules and pretend they aren’t doing just that.Report
They can’t pass it under reconciliation unless it’s neutral over ten years. That’s why they were pushing the healthcare stuff that much — they needed that 800 billion in wiggle room so they could make upper bracket and business cuts permanent.
They’ll end up sunsetting their cuts, for the same reason Dubya’s did. They can’t find enough spending cuts or deductions to kill without pissing off too many people.Report
But what if McConnell and Ryan just Thelma & Louise it and throw out all the budget and reconciliation rules, making everything a simple majority?
(My understanding, at least with the filibuster, was it paradoxically requires only a simple majority to nuke it – or maybe not a paradox, as that’s why it’s called a nuclear option, simple, straightforward and utterly destructive. Anyway, I don’t know if that applies to other procedural rules.)Report
There isn’t a 50 vote GOP majority to throw out those rules in the Senate. It’s as simple as that. The Senators may be Republicans but some of they are going to vote to preserve their own power first and foremost and McConnell can only lose 3.Report
No, they can’t pass it under reconciliation if it increases the deficit beyond a ten-year limit (more precisely, it can’t increase the deficit beyond the period specified in the budget resolution, which has been as long as ten years in the past; conceivably the resolution could specify a period longer than ten years). That’s why the Bush tax cuts expired after ten years. Greatly increased the deficit for ten years, which was okay, and then reverted to current law to get rid of the effect in the out years.Report
I think I’m confusing the reconciliation rules and the stance of the Freedom Caucus on the tax cuts. I think they not only want budget neutral, they want it to be revenue neutral (or better yet, less revenue) as a requirement.Report
Understandable. The original intent of the Budget Act was that reconciliation would be used to either reduce the deficit or increase the surplus. (Also to force the President to spend appropriated dollars, which created the dilemma Obama faced at one point*.) But the authors didn’t spell that out. Having been there at the state level, I’m sure that staff pointed out to them at some point that sh*t was screwed up :^)
* That is, statute sets tax rates that generate $X in revenue, statute requires that $Y be spent, and statute says that even though $Y>$X, no additional borrowing is allowed. All executive actions violate the law in one way or another.Report
interesting theory. It looks like you might be right.
In other news, my side again confirmed my belief that snark is the balm of the powerless and has limited rhetorical value. Their is a meme on the net comparing Saramucci to the Boneititis guy from Futurama. Boneitis guy was a parody of a Wall Street bro from the 80s, complete with Banker’s collar and suspenders.
How many people really watch Futurama to consider this a wicked burn that would destroy the guy?Report
On the other hand, who cares? It’s a frickin joke on the internet. It doesn’t have, or need, to have any more meaning then a joke. All sorts of groups joke within themselves about stuff. Yeah the this will “destroy, annihilate, obliterate, take apart at the sub atomic level” lines are stupid. But that is a BSDI thing and i can’t see how it means anything. If it means anything it’s that humor helps people with stress. That seems pretty non-controversial and a good thing.Report
is available to any US citizen who requests it
So he missed the opportunity to claim that it was requested by an illegal alien?Report
The second point is that you really have to take all “leaked” comments from the White House with a large grain of salt, even if that leak tells you something damaging about Trump, Bannon, Spicer, or whoever. Every leak might well be true; it might also just be a way of “leaking” something entirely fabricated in order to stick a knife in a rival and move up half a notch in the Trump-toadying hierarchy.
The rumor that I heard was that The Mooch caught Priebus in a Canary Trap.
If you’re going to leak to the press to get a leg up or get inside the news cycle it’s one thing, if you’re going to leak to the press in such a way that hampers The Don’s ability to defeat his enemies, see them driven before him, and to hear the lamentations of the women it’s quite another.
The thing to worry about is whether The Mooch will help The Don achieve what is Best In Life to a greater degree than Priebus did.Report
I don’t think he’s need to. Shitting on Preibus to that reporter makes Trump look like a fool for appointing Scaramucci *unless* Priebus is on the way out.Report
Well, I wonder if Preibus was one of the White House leakers who was using tactical leaks in service to the goals of The Republican Establishment rather than to What Is Best In Life.
If he (Preibus) was, then The Mooch proved that he (Moochy) is a team player and Preibus ain’t.
If he (Preibus) wasn’t, then The Mooch is probably the second most dangerous guy in that building right now.Report
As someone who has seen Trump as a Jacksonian figure, I’ve been waiting to see if his “Martin Van Buren” emerges. I don’t know much about Scaramucci, but could he be the person who understands Trump’s needs and creates shape and form to an administration adrift?
(For those unfamiliar with the reference, early in the Jackson administration, there was a social media scandal involving a cabinet member’s inappropriate marriage that echoed accusations made against Jackson’s late wife. Jackson demanded his cabinet show Mrs. Eaton respect and threatened to dual some, but it was only Van Buren who proceeded to make social calls on the young couple. Van Buren provided obsequious attention to Jackson’s sense of honor and loyalty, and was rewarded with the influence to create policy, dismiss most of the cabinet, and initate the spoils system)Report
Excellent as usual, Tod.Report
Later, in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union, he alluded to a anonymous expert on Russian intelligence who he said could not name — and then a minute later spilled the beans that that expert was Donald Trump.
If you’ve actually watched this, it’s a particularly funny situation.
If I recall correctly, Scaramucci claims something, the guy he is talking to disbelieves it, Scaramucci cites this ‘anonymous expert’, the guy still doesn’t believe it, and Scaramucci is like ‘Oh yeah?! What if I told you the expert was President Trump’.
Which immediately brings two thoughts to the mind of everyone: a) You sound like you’re lying dude. You sound exactly like you just made up that expert, and then decided to claim it was Trump. Followed shortly by b) Wait, you think attributing statements to President Trump means we’re more likely to believe them? Where have you been?
And then, of course, most of us didn’t notice the absolute nonsense of c) The guy hired by Donald Trump to push his own policy is claiming that policy is justified because of things Donald Trump wants everyone to know, but not to know it came from him? What sort of logic is that?Report
The Trump Whitehouse seems to revel in the surface stuff without having the foundations that allow for the surface stuff to work. They just jump straight to the surface stuff.
It’s like if you said “I want to build a house” and drove around for a while and concluded that houses have doors and windows and walls and mommies and daddies and kiddos and doggies.
Heck, while driving around, they saw an open door here or there, perhaps even an open garage door. “We’ll need drywall too!”
This team isn’t going to be building a “real” house, though. Even if they do have doors and windows and walls and mommies and daddies and kiddos and doggies.Report
This does remind me of a very inept Cheney move:
Leak lies to the press, and then cite those leaks as evidence.
They just did it totally wrong. Like, wrong in every possible way. Not just admitting it was from Trump, but showing up in public to present the leak.Report
While I agree completely with this post, I think it’s worth mentioning something that didn’t get mentioned here, although it has been mentioned plenty of other places:
Scaramucci is the guy that Donald Trump wishes he was.
Scaramucci is so charismatic that he has a very successful history of running what are basically long cons on people, but entirely legal ones that don’t get him in trouble.
For example, his most recent one was selling ‘funds of hedge funds’, where he allow wealthy but not super-rich people invest in hedge funds, which normally won’t do business with you unless you are very very very rich.
How is that a con? Well, mostly because hedge funds are cons to start with…they perform slightly under the market average if you consider fees. (The reason that hedge funds even exist at all is that they used to be a tax scam for clients, but that was closed a decade ago.) If you really really know what you are doing, you can perhaps pick a good one, but it’s basically a crap shoot.
So, all doing a fund of fund…means he gets to skim off another layer of fees, and also means that it’s extremely unlikely to hit the jackpot. Almost anyone who invested with him in his SkyBridge thing, at any point, would have been better off buying index funds. (Barring the few times that hedge funds and market temporarily desynced, which they do in both directions randomly. I mean, I’m sure there were a few investment points where he managed to beat that market.)
And yet…he kept managing to sell those idiots things.
Scaramucci is actually the guy that Donald Trump, deep down, believes himself to be, the super-rich guy who wheels and deals with the moderately rich and manages to make large amounts of money from them.Report
This is a great point. I’d even probably guess Mooch is a great deal more physically attractive then Trump, and in the specific way Trump may idealize male attractiveness.Report
Another disconcerting piece of evidence that lends credencr to your theory–there’s a clip going round Facebook showing The Mooch doing exact imitations of Big Tweet’s hand gestures when he speaks. I somehow doubt that Mooch is doing so subconsciously, which means he spent some amount of time studying Tweet’s mannerisms and practicing them until he got them down pat. Creepy but brilliant.
The Mooch must also know something about malignant narcissism to know how to play the sychophant so well, massaging Big Tweet’s ego and playing yes man to his insecurities and paranoia. How long this act will keep him safe if he keeps upstaging Tweet is open to debate, but for now his loyal doormat yet staunch defender act is pure gold. And funny as hell. In these dark days, I’ll take a laugh anywhere I can get one.Report
There will probably never be a post both proven and disproven by subsequent events as dramatically as this one has, and its been up for three days. The Mooch is out.Report
I was afraid that he wouldn’t be around long enough for SNL to mock him but I didn’t think he’d be gone quite this fast.Report
And right after tweeting this morning that there is no chaos at the WH.Report
“Note: The Mooch died on the way back to his home planet”Report
Long enough to oust Reince Priebus, then a weekend, then put on the “To Do” list for Monday.
I’m exhausted and it’s only just past lunchtime.Report
Seems he was ousted by Kelly, which makes this even more incredible.
ETA: Which means, maybe Trump IS playing 12D-chess.
He wanted Priebus out but didn’t want his hands dirty. He brought in Mooch who chased out Priebus and dominated headlines for a week. Then he brings in Kelly who chases out Mooch, meaning Trump doesn’t actually have to deal with Mooch. And Trump was largely in the background throughout.Report
Trump can even argue “hey, I was playing golf the whole time!”Report
Kudos to the editors, who did a good job hiding that this was a double eviction episode.Report
In all seriousness, it wouldn’t totally shock me to learn that this was more or less Trump’s plan/hope. I don’t think he’s the brilliant puppeteer that some still argue he is. But I also would venture to guess this particular form of manipulation is in his toolbox and probably something he has had to use at times. I don’t think it is going to work with real politicians and world leaders, but when it comes to pulling things over on the Mooches of the world, I’m sure Trump is rather skilled.Report
It’s never 12D chess. Trump replaced Preibus with Kelly, who said he wouldn’t work with Mooch. So Mooch got kicked to the curb, most likely because he was already stealing Trump’s thunder.
It’s a comedy of errors, not some masterminded plot. Unless the plot is “Speedrun Watergate and trash everyone involved’s reputation”. So unless Trump’s big reveal is that he’s the new host of Punk’d and this has been an 18 month long marketing campaign, it’s not 12D chess. It’s not clever politics.
It’s a rudderless, back-biting, circular firesquad mess where people come and go based on whatever person whispered in Trump’s ear last.
Although we can probably surmise that General > Real Estate Guy in Trump’s mental Rolodex. He does like the generals and the military — remember him wanting some nice tanks on parade for his inauguration?
I’m waiting for him to try to stick some medal on himself and evolve into his final, 3rd world military dictator, form.Report
Trumperator, I choose you!Report
It does seem a mathematical impossibility to out-alpha a United States Marine Corps 4 star general. Yet Mooch tried to perform this calculation, according to some reportsReport
Wouldn’t be the first time an ego ran up charges a credit line couldn’t cover. And it wont’ be the last especially in this admin.Report
ETA: Which means, maybe Trump IS playing 12D-chess.
Trump is not playing 12D chess. Trump does not understand the rules of chess, or that anyone else is playing chess, or how the little horsies move, or literally anything about the game of politics^Wchess at all.
It is, however, possible, that Trump is playing 12D Balderdash and cleverly got himself bad press by hiring someone really crappy to blow things up so he wouldn’t have to.
He wanted Priebus out but didn’t want his hands dirty. He brought in Mooch who chased out Priebus and dominated headlines for a week. Then he brings in Kelly who chases out Mooch, meaning Trump doesn’t actually have to deal with Mooch. And Trump was largely in the background throughout.
Do you think he did that because he didn’t want to have to fire Priebus, or because he didn’t want to be blamed for firing Priebus? Weirdly, there is current precedent for both those:
He’s openly trying to get Session to quit without firing him, so clearly has problems moving forward in that. (OTOH, there’s a theory he’s just doing that to torture Session, which is possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I mean, Jeff Sessions getting the AG spot and being allowed to do all the retrograde racist dogwhistle tough-on-crime shit he’s been trying to do all his life, and having to put up with being tormented by public mockery from his boss during it, is such a fitting punishment it is entirely possible that Jeff Sessions died last year and we’re all extras in his own personal hell where he gets exactly what he wants and it’s absolutely horrible. So I can’t complain too much there.)
Meanwhile, he’s openly trying to kill Obamacare and deflect blame onto the Democrats, another equally stupid attempt at deflection.
And, on the third hand, he is deeply, deeply, deeply stupid. So it is plausible that he literally decided ‘I will hire the public asshole who operates with no discipline’ and ‘I will hire a military man to impose discipline’ at the same time, and didn’t notice the problem there.
That third option seems the most plausible, but, remember, under Trump’s Razor, we have to find the stupidest possible reasons for something. It can’t just be ‘No one thought that through’, we have to operate on the assumption they did think it through and did something brain-bleedingly stupid.
So I’m voting for: Trump was, indeed, attempting to deflect blame for Priebus’ firing onto Scaramucci. This attempted deflection failed so badly that literally no one even noticed that was what he trying to do.
Huh. Thinking about it, it is entirely possible it failed because, duh, they lost Spicer to give out that message! I mean, it wouldn’t have worked anyway, but they lost the ability to give out their dumbass message of how “President Trump did not want Priebus gone, Scaramucci forced it.” that no one would have believed, but Fox and Friends could have dutifully repeated how everyone understood how it was due to Scaramucci.Report
A man managed to publically burn down his entire life in a matter of 10 days, as an obvious consequence of ambition, arrogance and stupidity.Report
My God, everyone was right…Scaramucci really was the distilled essence of Trump.
He even managed to to do the whole ‘kicked out of office’ in, like, a tenth the time.Report
Okay, the people running the matrix are just messing with us at this point.
Here’s the WaPo:
Anthony Scaramucci erroneously listed as dead in the new Harvard Law alumni directoryReport
I can’t lie, the whole Mooch thing was perversely entertaining.Report
How do you even write jokes in this environment?
By the time that SNL rolls around on Saturday Night, no one will even remember The Mooch.Report
Yeah I feel for the comedians but the rest of the media establishment are happier than pigs in mud.
I made two assertions in the run up to 2016: that Trump would never be elected and if any GOP candidate were to be elected Trump would be the least harmful from a Liberal PoV. I was astonishingly wrong about the former but the latter one is holding up tolerably well.
Though knowing my luck as soon as I hit Post Comment Trump is going to launch a nuke a North Korea.Report
the rest of the media establishment are happier than pigs in mud.
They’re mistaken to be happy.
The media establishment would have had awesome stuff to talk about *DAILY*. Who knows if the new guy will drive even half as many clickthroughs?Report
Trump generates enough clickthroughs himself to keep them all in mud for his entire term. The Mooch was just the shrimp on the mud cocktail. Sure they don’t get the shrimp but they still get the rest of the cocktail.Report
Yeah, I kinda pity all the libs that want Trump fired into outer space.
He’s doing good, honestly.
He’s doing nothing, really.
I don’t mind that.
He’s doing better than Hillary would’ve — and when he’s out, the libs can “roll back” some of his immigration stuff (the only thing he appears to be actually trying at, even if he’s more incompetent than Obama at deporting folks).Report
Then, when faced with proof that he was deleting tweets, he shifted his narrative and claimed — bizarrely — that he was deleting them out of a sense of full transparency.
That did indeed sound bizarre, so I clicked through to the actual tweet, and…that’s not at all what he said. The “full transparency” referred to the acknowledgement that he was deleting old tweets, not the motivation for deleting the tweets. His stated reason for deleting the tweets was, “Past views evolved & shouldn’t be a distraction.”
Now, you can argue that it’s not really “full transparency” if he only admitted it because someone proved that he was lying when he previously claimed not to be deleting them, but he definitely didn’t say that he was deleting tweets for the sake of transparency.Report