‘They’ll all be fired by me’, says Scaramucci
WASHINGTON • White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci assailed rivals Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, two top aides to President Donald Trump, in a profane tirade that is sure to inflame a running and very public feud among top White House officials.
“They’ll all be fired by me,” Scaramucci said, according to New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza, who said the communications director — not even a week in his new job — had called him late Wednesday.
The reason for the call was to complain about a Lizza tweet that revealed Trump’s dinner that night with Scaramucci, Fox News host Sean Hannity and a former Fox executive.
Scaramucci, who has made ferreting out leakers his top priority since being named to the position, demanded Lizza identify his source. Lizza said he declined to do so.
“I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus — if you want to leak something — he’ll be asked to resign very shortly,” Scaramucci said. “Reince is a f------ paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.”
Later in the interview, he also attacked Trump’s chief strategist, Bannon, who he said sought media attention at the president’s expense.
“I’m not Steve Bannon,” Scaramucci told Lizza, using a vulgar expression to indicate the senior adviser to the president was only interested in pleasing himself sexually. “I’m not trying to build my own brand” off the president. “I’m here to serve the country.”
Lizza said Scaramucci never asked to be off the record and that Priebus and Bannon both declined to comment about the remarks. Neither Priebus nor Bannon immediately responded to requests for comment.
The New Yorker report was the latest episode in a White House drama that exploded into a public spectacle on Thursday. It laid bare a power struggle among factions within an administration besieged by multiple investigations and stalled on its agenda.
The remarks from Scaramucci, a Trump loyalist, create a public face-off with Priebus, who holds a job that in any other White House would be one of the most powerful in Washington. It also comes as Trump has been berating his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, in public statements and on Twitter.
Earlier Thursday, Scaramucci undermined Priebus during a live, 30-minute interview on CNN, suggesting the White House chief of staff was behind some of the leaks that have sparked turmoil in the White House and anger from Trump.
“If Reince wants to explain that he’s not a leaker, let him do that,” Scaramucci told CNN during a half-hour live phone interview. “I’m a straight shooter. I’ll go right to the heart of the matter.”
“The fish stinks from the head down,” he said. “I can tell you two fish that don’t stink, and that’s me and the president.”
Scaramucci said there is an establishment element inside the White House that is trying “to save America from this president” and is interfering with the full changes Trump is trying to make to “transform” the nation and “drain the swamp.”
He didn’t name who he thinks is among that element, but Priebus is a longtime party figure who was Republican National Committee chairman before joining a Trump team dominated by outsiders.
Senator John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, told CNN after the Scaramucci interview that while some public spats are inevitable in every presidential administration “in this White House it’s out of control.”
“You don’t have to comment on everything,” he said. “I wouldn’t do it.”