Politics

Scaramucci Says He Was Mostly ‘Joking’ About Priebus, Bannon

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Phillip Stucky Political Reporter

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci attempted to walk back his vulgar criticism of high-ranking White House staff last week, which contributed to his ousting when John Kelly took over as chief of staff for Reince Priebus.

“Most of what I said was humorous and joking,” Scaramucci told The Huffington Post about the statements. “Legally, it may have been on the record, but the spirit of it was off. And he knew that.”

The comments were made during a phone interview with Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker, who reported that Scaramucci slammed Priebus as a “fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.” He then told Lizza that Priebus would be resigning soon, adding that the former staffer didn’t get the hint that Scaramucci had a direct line of communication with the president.

“He didn’t get the hint that I was reporting directly to the President,” he said. “And I said to the President here are the four or five things that he will do to me.”

Scaramucci also slammed White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

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

Scaramucci felt betrayed that Lizza reported on the interview’s comments, according to his statements to The Huffington Post. “The Lizzas and Scaramuccis have been friends for over 50 years,” he said. “My dad knew his dad from construction, and we were building a personal relationship.”

President Donald Trump enjoyed the outburst, sources close to the White House told The Huffington Post. But he felt the backlash over the harsh words were bringing too much negative attention to the administration. Scaramucci was ousted a few days after his comments, when Trump brought Kelly on as his new chief of staff.

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