The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Staff Reports

Posted: Monday, January 01, 2018 12:30 PM

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POLITICS: WH Communications Director On The Record Tirade Exposes Priebus, Bannon As Possible Leakers In White House

Anthony Scaramucci’s shocking, on-the-record tirade has blown the cover off long-simmering tensions between two of President Trump’s key men, prompting one White House worker to express safety concerns and triggering a countdown to the exit of either Scaramucci or his target, Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

Scaramucci, the newly minted White House communications director, set off a firestorm with a rambling rant loaded with expletives and threats that The New Yorker published. The coarse language directed at Priebus and White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, as well as blanket threats to fire people, left some inside the White House shaken.

“This is getting out of hand,” a White House staffer told Fox News. “I am honestly concerned for my safety in the office tomorrow. This type of behavior is unbelievable. Working in the White House, and something like that is said … it’s a disgrace.”

Former Republican National Committee boss Priebus was left seemingly even more isolated in the aftermath. Scaramucci all but accused Priebus of media leaks, a recurring problem that has vexed the Trump administration. Other RNC colleagues brought into the administration have been nudged out of the West Wing, and Scaramucci’s hiring came with the rider that he reports directly to Trump – not Priebus.

Despite absorbing a brutal attack, Priebus received no outward signs of support. As of Friday morning, Trump had not weighed in on the mushrooming controversy. The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., backed Scaramucci.

“Shocked the media is going after @Scaramucci for working to cut off their ‘sources’ & leaks,” Trump Jr. tweeted. “All I know is that he isn't/wasn't the leak!!!”

Priebus has not reacted publicly to the broadside from his West Wing adversary, but it is hard to imagine the two co-existing in the administration after the public eruption of animosity. Scaramucci said after his tirade but before it was made public that any chance their relationship could be repaired was in the hands of the president.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried Thursday to dampen the controversy, but acknowledged she hoped Scaramucci could learn to use more restraint in his rhetoric – especially when discussing fellow Trump administration staffers.

“In terms of people’s safety, I certainly hate that somebody feels that way, but I have worked with an incredible team over the last six months,” Sanders told Fox News. “We have a great group of people. I love coming to work every day. I consider it a privilege. I certainly feel very safe in the building, and happy to be here.”

In the published interview, Scaramucci bluntly assailed Priebus for blocking his path to a White House job for months and for allegedly being a likely source of leaks. He also went after Bannon by name and other White House staffers who serve as unnamed sources to the White House press corps.

“They’ll all be fired by me,” Scaramucci told a New Yorker reporter, after the reporter refused to divulge a source. “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you.”

“Reince is a (expletive) paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” he told the New Yorker about the White House chief of staff.

Scaramucci also took a shot at Bannon.

“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own (expletive),” Scaramucci said. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the (expletive) strength of the president. I’m here to serve the country.”

Scaramucci later tweeted his response to the article.

“I sometimes use colorful language. I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @realDonaldTrump's agenda. #MAGA”