Trump made some Trumpish personnel decisions over the last couple of days. He appointed Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House communications director. He elevated Sarah Huckabee Sanders to Press Secretary. Sean Spicer resigned in protest. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus objected to the Scaramucci hire but that protest went nowhere.
I caught the noon-time press briefing conducted mostly by the new guy, Scaramucci (although Huckabee Sanders lurked off to the side of the stage before making brief comments). Scarmucci in my book is scary mucho. To understand why consider the reactions to Trump’s recent interview with the NY Times. Greg Sargent’s column is representative. I’ll get back to Scarymucho in a few moments.
Greg Sargent (Washington Post/Plum Line) retrospects on how Trump’s deeply worrisome New York Times interview reveals a lawless president. He offers three examples.
- Trump flatly declared that if Attorney General Jeff Sessions had told him in advance that he would recuse himself from the Russia probe, “I would have picked somebody else.” Just as bad, Trump also said that Sessions’s recusal was “very unfair to the president,” i.e., unfair to him.
- Trump said clearly that if special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is examining his family’s finances, he would view that as an abuse of his role. While Trump declined to say whether he would try to get Mueller removed, he said he would view any such overstepping as a “violation.”
- In at least two exchanges, Trump was asked directly about the fact that Donald Trump Jr.’s email chain showed that the information offered to his campaign in advance of the now-notorious meeting came from the Russian government. In one of them, he strongly suggested that being open to such information was no biggie. In the other, he dismissed the offer itself as “standard political stuff.”
Trump sees the world as everything is about Trump.
Benjamin Wittes, founder of the Lawfare blog, aptly denounces Trump’s “monomaniacal view of the relationship between the president and law enforcement,” in which the latter is there to “serve” the former.
Ultimately, the picture that emerges from this interview is this: Trump has done no evident reflection on the obligations to the public that accompany the massive public authority that has been entrusted to him. He has no clear sense of why it is even desirable, as a matter of public trust, to demonstrate respect for the norms and procedures that are meant to safeguard against abuses of that authority. I know that sounds prim and stuffy and perhaps even obvious, given all the madness we’ve already seen from Trump. But it still matters, and to see it displayed so nakedly is more unsettling than usual.
And now WH communications are to be managed by a slicker-than-Spicer mouthpiece who believes that Trump is a great man and wonderful president. At least that’s what the new guy says.
Spicer resigns as White House press secretary, Scaramucci to be communications director reports the Washington Post. Spicer had been rumored to be on his way out. But Scaramucci? Scara who? The Post provides a video on what you need to know about the new communications director.
I found Scaramucci to be frightening because he is the ultimate loyalist and loves Trump. Moreover, he thinks America loves Trump. It just doesn’t appear that way, you see, because the press does not understand Donnie. So you should love Trump. We all should love Trump.
The NY Times’ Glenn Thrush reported Spicer’s resignation in Sean Spicer Resigns as White House Press Secretary.
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned on Friday after denouncing chaos in the West Wing and telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of the New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director.
After offering Mr. Scaramucci the communications job Friday morning, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Spicer to stay on as press secretary. But Mr. Spicer told Mr. Trump that he believed the appointment of Mr. Scaramucci was a major mistake and said he was resigning, according to a person with direct knowledge of the exchange.
In one of his first official acts, Mr. Scaramucci, who founded the global investment firm SkyBridge Capital and is a Fox News contributor, joined Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Mr. Spicer’s chief deputy, in the White House briefing room and announced that she would succeed Mr. Spicer as press secretary.
Scarymucho came across like Hitler’s Goebbels, promising honesty but putting Trump Gloss on Trump’s outrageous claims. The Post reports that Scaramucci takes podium, declares loyalty.
Newly named White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci went right to work answering journalists’ questions after getting the job.
Scaramucci entered the White House press briefing room with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who now has the position of press secretary for President Donald Trump.
The New York financier repeatedly declared his love for and loyalty to Trump.
Scaramucci also pushed back against the notion that the White House remains adrift six months into Trump’s term.
Scaramucci says Trump is doing a phenomenal job and that he’ll work with the rest of the White House communications team to get that message “out there a little more aggressively.”
He answered a range of questions and blew a kiss and waved to journalists before leaving the briefing room.
You see why I am worried?
I’m afraid we are witnessing the opening act of a Minister for Propaganda.