An early look at how Anthony Scaramucci will serve Trump

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci’s main defense against the aggressive questions he received on the Sunday shows is that his job is to say what the president wants said.

Maybe I attach too much importance to a few old-fashioned virtues like telling the truth, factual accuracy, and answering the question you are asked (or, if you are not going to answer it, say so frankly and explain why you won’t).

Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House director of communications, led off “State of Union” and “Face the Nation” yesterday. Good hair. Good smile. Rising from middle-class roots, he went to Harvard Law School and made his own fortune on Wall Street. Professes his “love” for Donald Trump (although he supported several of Trump’s rivals for the GOP nomination until they were eliminated). Doesn’t blow his cool.

I don’t claim to know what he expects to get out of his new gig. He went into his Twitter account and deleted many tweets that would be embarrassing now, for example endorsing stronger gun control laws and calling Hillary Clinton “incredibly competent.” But – full credit here – he disclosed that he was doing so. I’m not sure how that comports with anything that could be called truth-telling, but it’s better than denying that he did the deletions (especially since the odds are pretty good that if he did deny it, he would get caught). Several of the deleted tweets were saved by others and can be viewed here.

Scaramucci’s main defense against the aggressive questions he received on the Sunday shows is that his job is to say what the president wants said. He didn’t specify that he would tell lies or other forms of untruths, but he came pretty close.

The big moment on CNN’s “State of the Union,” which you’ve probably heard about by now, was when host Jake Tapper asked Scaramucci whether he accepted the unanimous conclusion of the U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia had interfered with the 2016 presidential election (it was related to the question of whether Trump will veto the law moving through Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support to punish Russia for its election interference).

Scaramucci would not say yes or no about the conclusion of the intelligence agencies, although he begged off by saying that he didn’t yet have high enough security clearance to get full access to all the intelligence on this matter, but he did say: 

You know, somebody said to me yesterday — I won’t tell you who — that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would have never seen it. You would have never had any evidence of them, meaning that they’re super confident in their deception skills and hacking.

“Somebody said to me yesterday — I won’t tell you who.” That was pretty choice, but it didn’t hold up.

Tapper pushed back, suggesting that whatever Scaramucci’s unnamed source might say, it’s hard to believe that it would outweigh the unanimous opinion of the U.S. intelligence agencies, both when they were headed by Obama appointees and this year when the agencies are headed by Trump’s people, who have all accepted this conclusion about Russian interference via hacking and spreading of stolen and/or false information. Which led to this exchange:

TAPPER: Well, you’re making a lot of assertions here. I don’t know who this anonymous person is that said, if the Russians had actually done it, we wouldn’t have been able to detect it, but it is the unanimous …

SCARAMUCCI: How about it was — how about it was the president, Jake?

Okay, so, Ta-da. Donald Trump claims to know something that the U.S. intelligence agencies do not know about the capabilities of the Russians to hack into our election and into various sources of data (like the emails accounts of prominent Democrats) without leaving a trace. So the fact there were traces of some kind found that convinced the U.S. intelligence community, which has decades of experience tracking Russian activity, is actually evidence that that the Russians didn’t do it because if the Russians did it there would be no traces.

The full transcript of Scaramucci on “State of the Union” is here. It’s pretty amazing. 

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Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 07/24/2017 - 09:45 am.

    Sigh

    “…Okay, so, Ta-da. Donald Trump claims to know something that the U.S. intelligence agencies do not know about the capabilities of the Russians to hack into our election and into various sources of data (like the emails accounts of prominent Democrats) without leaving a trace.”

    Truth…schmuth.

    By now, we’re learning that the Current Occupant believes A) he’s above the law—L’estat, l’emoi, as Louis XIV is often quoted as saying; and B) he can bend reality to suit his purposes, much as the loathsome Dick Cheney and other apparatchiks insisted about THEIR guy and administration some years ago. In this case, the Current Occupant knows more than anyone, anywhere, any time, about anything. Just ask him…

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/24/2017 - 11:05 am.

    A smoother conveyor of lies is what was wanted, so the Mooch delivers.

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 07/24/2017 - 11:28 am.

    Truth serium wouldn’t help Scaramucci

    I find no reasoning to think that Scaramucci will be a truth teller. He is in the Whitehouse, where the truth can not survive.

  4. Submitted by Misty Martin on 07/24/2017 - 11:50 am.

    Well, all I can say is:

    To borrow a quote by Lewis Carroll from his book: ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’: “Curiouser and Curiouser.”

    Should this whole fiasco be called: “Russia’s Adventures in Trumpland”? or vice versa? And pray tell, just WHO is playing the role of the Mad Hatter? So MANY names come to mind . . .

  5. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 07/24/2017 - 04:53 pm.

    Scaramucci’s credibility will have a short shelf life

    Scaramucci may be a intelligent forthright guy but I don’t understand his willingness to loose his credibility. Anything Scaramucci might say or do will have a shelf life of hours before Trump contradicts him. If Scaramucci plans to try and defend Trumps statements and actions his credibility will be done for. He can not defend the indefensible and have any credibility. Credibility means nothing to Trump. As Trump takes himself down with his statements and actions he takes those around him down as well. We need a President with credibility and we don’t have that. Trumps time in office will not be a bright spot in our history.

  6. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 07/24/2017 - 05:04 pm.

    One, this new guy isn’t the press secretary; he’s the White House communications director who–normally–doesn’t get out in front of the cameras or go on Sunday new shows. Hes a con man, like Donald Trump.

    Two, he has shown himself totally uninterested in anything other than “the show” part of the presidency: slick glad-handing and grins and jokes and little games played. Please.

    I would ask everyone to try to access–in their mind’s eye, if not some archived clips–the press briefings regularly given by Obama’s press secretary at any given time from January 2009 to January 2017. Nobody once had to wonder if he was lying, or ask again and again where he got his information or if that information was just made up. There was truth and dignity in that office, with Obama and with former presidential administrations.

    We have forgotten how desperately LOW the Trump administration has set the bar in communicating with the public! People seem to be accepting the empty playfulness, the solid acceptance of whatever the Donald deems “true” as true.

    Go back and look at when the office of the Presidency was respectable–it was only six months or so ago.

  7. Submitted by Tim Smith on 07/25/2017 - 09:20 am.

    How Ironic

    it was only a month ago 3 CNN “journalists” were fired for falsely disparaging Mr. Scaramucci. I guess both sides know what a liar looks like.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/25/2017 - 10:31 am.

      Ironic, Indeed

      “I guess both sides know what a liar looks like.” The crucial difference being that CNN fires its “liars.” A willingness to lie is an essential qualification to work at this White House.

  8. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 07/25/2017 - 10:35 am.

    Your comment, Tim, makes me yearn for the public’s ability to fire the President, mid-stream!

    He lies all the time, serially, and that’s why everyone who participates in the White House mess ends up diminished, with a diminished reputation, because they fruitlessly try to keep up with whatever version of whatever Trump puts out. They all look like clowns. To quote Trump: “Sad.”

    CNN’s firing of three journalists for less-than-full accuracy in their reporting is a healthy sign for the news media, in the days when no one with a brain trusts anything our President says anymore.

    As I said earlier: Trump sets a very, very low bar!

  9. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/25/2017 - 03:11 pm.

    Serving Trump

    On a platter with an apple in his mouth?
    (NOTE: this is sarcasm, not an incitement to violence).

  10. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 07/26/2017 - 11:31 am.

    From the starting gate…

    I listened to his initial press comments upon his taking the job. Just one more Goldman Sachs, Wall Street guy whose passion in life is helping the everyday working person to a better life. And that is actually how he basically described himself.

    The 2008 recession, enabled by Goldman Sachs and their fellow travelers, took 2.4 trillion dollars out of the 401 k retirement plans of the people he yearns to serve.

    We live in a consequence free time: agreeable lies are far preferred to disagreeable truth…

    The GOP war on education funding has paid off and we now know the answer to:

    “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”

    NO!

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/27/2017 - 10:02 am.

    No one with any integrity would join this administration

    No one with any competence, integrity, or even a coherent sense of self respect, would joint this administration, specially now. It’s child’s play to predict therefore that anyone who does join this administration, will fail more or less specatcularly. Obviously it’s becoming increasingly impossible for anyone in this administration to be effective at their jobs in any normal sense of the word, but only competent people with integrity and self respect would recognize that fact. We’re reaching a point where we know that someone is incompetent and dishonest simply because they’ve taken a job in this administration. Anyone who thinks they can control Trumps “communications” is either a fool, or has some other agenda.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/31/2017 - 04:16 pm.

    Well that was a spectacular fail after all

    Ten days and the guys out. On to the next chump.

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