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White House official’s abusive rant exposes vicious infighting in Trumpworld

Trump’s new communications director Scaramucci threatens, insults White House colleagues

world Updated: Jul 28, 2017 10:28 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Donald Trump,White House,Anthony Scaramucci
White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci speaks after an on air interview at the White House in Washington.(REUTERS)

In a fresh instance of infighting among the US President’s top advisers, a senior White House official has gone on a profanity-laden rant calling a colleague a “f…… paranoid schizophrenic” and accusing another of “trying to s… (his) own ….”, roughly translating to advancing his own agenda.

The official, President Trump’s newly named communications director Anthony Scaramucci, expressed some remorse hours after his rant went public in a report in The New Yorker, and vowed to restrain himself in the future, but did not offer an apology to the colleagues he had trashed.

He used the “paranoid” invective for White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, who he believes conspired to prevent him from joining the Trump administration for the first six months despite the President’s obvious desire to have him on board and was trying to discredit him now that he was there.

And the colleague Scaramucci accused of trying sexual gymnastic to convey he was advancing his own agenda was chief strategist Stephen Bannon, the man said to be behind Trump’s hyper-nationalistic and isolationist vision and moves such as the abrogation of the Paris Climate Accord.

Neither official had reacted publicly, but Scaramucci’s sensational rant, that dominated TV news cycles and online chatter, laid bare once again the intrigue and vicious infighting that has gripped the Trump White House from the start, involving the competing power centers created by the President.

Scaramucci, a New York financier who has been in his new job for less than a week, initiated the interview in a call Wednesday night to a reporter of The New Yorker, trying to get from him his source for his tweet about a dinner Trump had with Fox news anchor Sean Hannity and a few others.

“Who leaked that to you?” he had asked, kicking off the call.

The reporter refused to divulge his source, of course, but that didn’t stop Scaramucci from assuming it was Priebus, a rival. “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,” he reportedly said and added, “Reince is a f…… paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.” He went to accuse Priebus of blocking him from joining the administration in language just as salty as the rest of it.

The newest member of the Trump team then sought to portray himself different from the others, who, he believed, craved media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to s… my own …. (and) I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”

Scaramucci is on a mission to root out leaks that Trump and like-minded officials tend to believe are at an unprecedented scale and are behind the negative perception of the President and his tenure so far — he is polling at a historic low of around 38% — and told the New Yorker reporter he will deal with the leakers.

In fact, he told the New Yorker reporter, “They’ll all be fired by me. I fired one guy the other day (a junior member of the White House team of spokespersons). I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you.”

“What I want to do,” he went on, “is I want to f…… kill all the leakers and I want to get the President’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people.”

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 07:36 IST