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
“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”