New adviser wants ‘positive mojo’
Will refocus, rethink information delivery, Scaramucci says
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s new communications adviser says it’s time to hit the “reset button.”
Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci pledged to begin “an era of a new good feeling” and said he hopes to “create a more positive mojo.” He also promised to crack down on information leaks and pledged to better focus the message coming from the White House.
To that end, Scaramucci suggested changes to come, noting: “I have in my pocket a radio studio, a television studio, and a movie studio. The entire world has changed; we need to rethink the way we’re delivering our information.”
Trump announced Friday that Scaramucci — a polished television commentator and Harvard Law graduate — would take over the administration’s top messaging job. The appointment came as the president contends with sinking approval ratings and struggles to advance his legislative agenda. The president has also been frustrated with the attention devoted to investigations of allegations of his election campaign’s connections to Russia.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer abruptly resigned in protest over Scaramucci’s appointment. He will be replaced by his former deputy Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The challenges for Scaramucci’s new role were evident in a series of interviews, where he discussed his plans for press strategy, but was beset by questions about the Russia investigation and the president’s Twitter feed.
The president frequently opts to directly speak to the public via Twitter. Scaramucci stressed on Fox that he would “let the president be the president,” adding that he wants to “help aid and abet his agenda.”
On the Russia stories, Scaramucci said on Fox that a “two-pronged approach” was needed, saying that “in some ways we want to de-escalate things and have there be a level of diplomacy. In other ways, we want it to be very hard-hitting and warlike.”
Asked about the president’s tweets about the investigation on CBS’ Face the Nation, Scaramucci said “if he thinks it’s helpful to him, let him do it.”
He also said on CNN’s State of the Union that “we’re going to defend him very, very aggressively when there’s nonsensical stuff being said about him. And he will probably dial back some of those tweets.”
Scaramucci also said on CNN that an unnamed person told him that “if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would have never seen it.”
He then said he was quoting the president, adding that “he basically said to me, hey, you know, this is — maybe they did it. Maybe they didn’t do it.”
U.S. intelligence agencies have accused the Russian government of meddling through hacking in last year’s election to benefit Trump and harm Clinton, and authorities are exploring potential coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
On CNN, Scaramucci called Sanders “phenomenal” and also said he “loved the hair and makeup person that we had on Friday. So, I would like to continue to use the hair and makeup person.”
He later took to Twitter to stress that he was referring to his own hair and makeup, adding “I need all the help I can get! #humor”
On Saturday, Scaramucci said he was deleting old tweets. Some of the tweets were at odds with Trump’s views, including one that praised Hillary Clinton’s competence. Trump defeated Clinton for president last year and continues to criticize her, including in several tweets Saturday.
Scaramucci said on Fox that the old tweets were “a total distraction.” He added: “When I made the decision to take this job, my politics and my political ideas do not matter at all. What matters is that I am supporting — subordinating all of that to the president’s agenda.”
Among the missives that disappeared Saturday were a post referring to Trump’s campaign as a “spectacle,” another in 2012 imploring Democrat Hillary Clinton to run for president and a tweet calling Trump ally Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, an “odd guy.”
Also deleted was a post saying he found the number of people who still believe climate change is a hoax “disheartening,” as well as a tweet arguing “walls don’t work” as immigration tools.
Scaramucci, 53, also deleted a tweet voicing support for “strong gun control laws” that had drawn the ire of a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, which offered the president a key endorsement during the campaign.
Conservative commentator Dana Loesch, in a post that has been deleted, said she found it “concerning” that Scaramucci “has a contrary position” on Second Amendment rights from the president. “You’re talking about someone responsible for presenting President’s message to public,” she said in a second post that remains on the social media network.
Scaramucci said on Fox on Sunday that he’s “pro-Second Amendment” and that his father was a hunter. “What I was worried about in 2012, in urban centers, if you don’t have a little level of gun control, it could lead to more violence,” he said.