‘They’ll all be fired by me’, says Scara­mucci

National Post (National Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - M ARGARET TALEV

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.”

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