Anthony Scaramucci, the profanity-laced, tough-talking former financial bigwig who was as confident in his abilities as any human being on the planet can be, has turned from being a knight to a sacrificial pawn in a very short period of time. Gen. John Kelly, who replaced Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff and had his first full day on the job, showed Scaramucci the door almost immediately after the former General was sworn in. The man who last week was bragging about sending Priebus packing is now packing himself, enduring the very same public humiliation that he helped engineer for Priebus days earlier.
According to the Washington Post, “Kelly told associates that he was dismayed by Scaramucci’s interview [with the New Yorker] and found it abhorrent and embarrassing for the president.” Kelly’s top priority as the new Chief of Staff is to knock heads when White House officials aren’t doing their jobs and to toss over as many bodies off the boat as he can. Indeed, Trump appointed Kelly in part to strike some fear into the heart of a West Wing operation that reeks of disorganization and on many days looks like an unsupervised elementary school playground. Scaramucci, however, was one of the wildest kids in the schoolyard; disagreeing with your colleagues in private is one thing, but being loose-lipped and unhinged enough to call your colleagues psychopaths, schizophrenics and shameless self-promoters to a national reporter wasn’t going to be tolerated under Kelly’s regime. Kelly is a stickler for organization and chain-of-command (decades in the Marine Corps will do that to you), two qualities completely lacking in Scaramucci during his 10-day tenure as communications director.
But there is a silver lining for Scaramucci that we all risk ignoring at our own peril.
Even with Scaramucci escorted off the White House grounds, he’ll continue to have influence, access and conversations with President Trump. Kelly may now be tasked with controlling who goes in and out of the Oval Office, but he can’t control who the president talks to upstairs in his private residence during the late-night hours. Corey Lewandowski, Michael Flynn and Sam Nunberg were all fired or forced to resign from their positions at one point or another, but all three men still talk to Trump on a regular basis and remain rapid defenders of his agenda. Outside advisers like former Speaker Newt Gingrich are as important to this president as White House staff — just because you are asked to leave Trump World in an official capacity doesn’t at all mean that you are shut out for good.
This may very well be the case with Scaramucci, someone who is so similar to Trump in demeanor and so ticked off about leaks that it may be physically difficult for Trump not to call him out of the blue when another bad story is dominating the news cycle. If Trump couldn’t resist talking to Flynn, even as he was being investigated for possible criminal activity, would it really be out of the ordinary for him to talk with Scaramucci and listen to his counsel?
It has long become monotonous to mention that Trump isn’t a conventional President. But for Scaramucci’s access, Trump’s impromptu style may be the former communication director’s saving grace.