Anthony Scaramucci, the new, colorful communications director for the White House, personally called a reporter to find out who leaked information about a dinner party with President Trump.
On Wednesday night, Scaramucci called Washington correspondent for the New Yorker, Ryan Lizza, and he was not happy. Earlier that evening, Lizza tweeted that Scaramucci was having dinner at the White House with Trump, the First Lady, Sean Hannity and the former Fox News executive Bill Shine. Lizza cited the sources as a “senior White House official.”
Scaramucci asked pointedly, “Who leaked that to you?” Lizza naturally refused to give up his source. Scaramucci then went on a rant threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff.
“What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team, and we’ll start over,” he said. Ryan Lizza said that he laughed, not sure if he believed that such a threat would cause a journalist to reveal a source. Scaramucci continued to vent, “I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves,” he said. “You’re an American citizen; this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”
Scaramucci believes that this leak of the dinner party proves that he has rivals in the West Wing and they are plotting against him. His primary target as a leaker may very well be Reince Priebus, who has been feuding with him for months. Priebus blocked an earlier attempt that Trump made to hire Scaramucci. In response to the recent Scaramucci hire, an ally of Priebus, Sean Spicer, resigned from his position as press secretary. And another blow came when Trump announced that Scaramucci would report directly to the president and not Priebus, his chief of staff.
Since Scaramucci has held his position, he has been adamant about flushing out the leakers. He was intent on finding out from Ryan Lizza who told him about the White House Dinner party.
“Is it an assistant to the President?” he asked. Lizza again told him that he couldn’t say. “O.K., I’m going to fire every one of them, and then you haven’t protected anybody so that the entire place will be fired over the next two weeks.”
Lizza asked why keeping the dinner party a secret was so important. Scaramucci responded, “I’ve asked people not to leak things for a period of time and give me a honeymoon period,” he said. “They won’t do it.” Scaramucci got even more intense and focused on Priebus, “They’ll all be fired by me,” he said. “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 Priebus—if you want to leak something—he’ll be asked to resign very shortly.”
As intense as the phone conversation had been, it got even more so. “Reince is a f*cking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said. He then assumed the intent of Priebus as he spoke: “ ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the f*cking thing and see if I can c*ck-block these people the way I c*ck-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ”
Scaramucci began to wind down the conversation by reiterating that Priebus would resign soon and he noted to Lizza that he told the president to expect Priebus to begin an even greater campaign against him.
When Ryan Lizza went on CNN to talk about his conversation with Scaramucci, the White House communications director called into the show himself. He changed his story about Priebus, even after tweeting his suspicion that he was a leaker. Scaramucci said that he was not trying to expose Priebus as a leaker, but wanting to work together with him to discover the leakers.
“He’s the chief of staff, he’s responsible for understanding and uncovering and helping me do that inside the White House, which is why I put that tweet out last night.”
Scaramucci then gave this word to the viewers of CNN, “Let me tell you something about myself,” he said. “I am a straight shooter.”
Scaramucci also did apologize for using such intense language and did say he would try in the future not to use such colorful language.
What do you think about the intensity with which he is working his position?
Credit: New Yorker