Trump's potty-mouthed comms director Scaramucci gets the boot | world news | Hindustan Times
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Trump's potty-mouthed comms director Scaramucci gets the boot

Flamboyant financier Anthony Scaramucci had the shortest term of all the officials of the Trump administration, being removed as communications director after a little more than 10 days.

world Updated: Aug 01, 2017 18:49 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
US President Donald Trump,White House,communications director
Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci talking to the media in Washington on July 25, 2017. (Reuters)

Another day, another exit from the Trump White House.

This time it was Anthony Scaramucci, the flamboyant New York financier who had been appointed communications director just a little more than 10 days ago. His sudden departure announced on Monday set another unflattering record for this White House, the shortest term served by any member of it.

Scaramucci’s ouster was orchestrated by the new chief of staff John Kelly, whose move to the White House followed a series of resignations set off by Scaramucci’s arrival itself, first by press secretary Sean Spicer, and later by chief of staff Reince Priebus. Kelly wanted to start with a “clean slate”.

Scaramucci started, with backdated effect, from July 20 and left on the 11th day — a term shorter than President Donald Trump’s first National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s 23 days, deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh’s 69 days, communications director Michael Dubke’s 101 days, Spicer’s 182 days and Priebus’s 189.

“Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House communications director,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, also new to her job, said in a statement. Scaramucci was leaving as he “felt it was best to give chief of staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team”.

Bringing order to the White House

Trump aides are saying Kelly, a former Marine general who moved from the department of homeland security, is expected to bring order to the White House using his military experience, and will have full authority to determine the reporting structure among officials, a contentious issue.

This will include the first family, or members of it serving in the administration, namely Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, a powerful senior adviser to the president.

But that will a tricky area, and will thus be scrutinised closely by observers in the United States and foreign governments and their diplomats here, who have wondered if courting the first family — as have the Chinese most strenuously and others to varying extent — is a sound and necessary investment.

Ivanka tweeted on Monday she was “looking forward to serving alongside” Kelly, who had assumed office just hours before, but who, according to Sanders, will have all White House staff reporting to him or to someone determined by him.

Asked if all the heavyweights in the White House — including chief strategist Steve Bannon — will report to Kelly, Sanders said unequivocally, “That includes everybody at the White House.”

That’s what Kelly wants to enforce discipline in the White House, but will he get it, control over the first family?

Team Trump in chaos

Scaramucci’s ouster came within hours of a tweet from Trump that sought to portray an administration in control of itself, and working: “Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising, border secure, S.C.: No WH chaos!”

The sudden departure of Scaramucci, who was only in his second week on the job and who was reporting directly to Trump, reflected anything but that, a White House in complete chaos, and riven by fierce infighting between similarly empowered factions.

Scaramucci had jumped right into the battle — the “snake pit”, as one commentator called it — trashing chief of staff Priebus, whose imminent departure he had gone on to preview, and Bannon in a rant that pushed the boundaries of vulgarity.

Even Trump was appalled, his press secretary told reporters while fielding a barrage of questions about the reasons for the firing of Scaramucci so soon. Trump “felt it was inappropriate…for a person in that position,” she said.