Politics

WAR AT THE WHITE HOUSE: Scaramucci’s Explicit Phone Call Has The Right Choosing Sides

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Peter Hasson Senior Reporter

The new White House communications director, self-described “colorful” speaker Anthony Scaramucci, has further divided the political right after unleashing an expletive-filled rant against chief strategist Steve Bannon and chief of staff Reince Preibus during a Wednesday night phone call with liberal New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza.

Scaramucci, whom President Trump hired last week to help steer an embattled White House in the right direction, has made it clear that he believes Preibus and the handful of staffers loyal to him are behind the steady stream of leaks that have plagued the Trump administration. Scaramucci — “The Mooch,” as he’s known in political circles — is waging a public campaign against Reince that culminated in Wednesday night’s rant, which the communications director appeared to think was off the record.

Scaramucci pressed Lizza to ask who leaked the details of Scaramucci’s dinner that night with Trump, Fox News host Sean Hannity and former Fox News executive Bill Shine. Lizza attributed the leak to a “senior White House official.”

“I fired one guy the other day,” Scaramucci said, referring to assistant press secretary Michael Short, who was canned earlier this week. “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 referred to Preibus as “a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.”

Scaramucci also took a swipe at Bannon, whose attempts to persuade Trump not to hire Scaramucci were widely reported.

“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” Scaramucci said. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”

Wednesday night’s vulgar phone call, which wasn’t reported until Thursday evening, has accelerated the internal White House war between Scaramucci and Preibus. Then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned following Trump’s hiring of Scaramucci, which Spicer also advocated against.

Preibus and Spicer have been allies in the Trump White House from the very start. They worked for years together at the Republican National Committee, including during the 2016 election — Preibus as chairman, Spicer as communications director.

Prominent conservatives and Trump supporters are choosing sides in the White House’s civil war, which influential news aggregator Matt Drudge dubbed a “deathmatch” between Preibus and Scaramucci.

Breitbart News appears to be going to war on behalf of Preibus and Bannon, the latter of whom was Breitbart’s CEO before joining the Trump campaign. The site’s lead story goaded President Trump for hiring Scaramucci, telling him to “move over” to make room for “The Anthony Scaramucci Show.”

Breitbart described the phone call as “a rambling rant that was so outrageous and discordant that reporters wondered whether Scaramucci drunk-dialed Lizza, was drunk with power, or, revealing he was unqualified for his communications director job, did not know how to smoothly go on and off the record — like Trump skillfully did recently with three New York Times reporters — so that such inflammatory comments do not reflect badly on his boss.”

“Scaramucci’s comments are disgraceful and will only do damage to the president,” said Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center.

Radio host Laura Ingraham, who guest-hosted part of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Thursday, called the Scaramucci call “humiliating to the president.”

But others on the right, mainly in the hard-core pro-Trump circles of social media, sided with Scaramucci.

“The White House leakers are offended and scared after the @Scaramucci tirade, but mostly scared…” wrote pro-Trump radio host Bill Mitchell on Twitter. “After 16 years of insufferable p*ssies in the White House, I find @Scaramucci refreshingly real.”

“This is gold,” said Cassandra Fairbanks, a writer for the pro-Trump Big League Politics. “If this is supposed to make Mooch look bad, they failed hard.”

Right-wing writer Mike Cernovich, whose work Donald Trump Jr. has praised, ripped Preibus, saying he “was never good to the base and screwed a lot of good people out of jobs, hired Never Trump’ers. He can’t leave soon enough.”

“The full scale civil war Trump supporters have been waiting for is on the horizon,” Cernovich added. “Trump’s base despises prancer Preibus, this civil war with Mooch will not end well for him.”

Right-wing writer and Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes also cheered on Scaramucci. “Don’t let the pussies grab you by the balls, Mooch,” McInness said. “Grab back!”

While the right is up in arms over the battle between Scaramucci and Preibus, President Trump appears to have made his choice. By all indications, Trump is Team Mooch.