Picture From the Washington Examiner
Anthony Scaramucci (The Mooch) recently made headlines after being appointed as the white house communications director on the 21st of July, only to be pushed, or jump from the position ten days later. A loaf of bread lasts me longer than his tenure. Officially he is “Stepping down so the new Chief of Staff may have a clean slate to build upon”. However, if this were the case everybody else who remained from under the previous Chief would also be stepping aside.
There are a few reasons that may account for his prompt departure from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, so here are a few of the theories and bits of insight around The Mooch’s whirlwind trip in and out of the Big House!
Departure Theory one: Family issues. His wife just gave birth to a baby boy, while Scaramucci was on air force one with President Donald Trump, but she had also recently filed for divorce. Some wrongly connected this as retaliation for him being in bed with a man she sees a vile; though she is certainly no fan of the President, the truth is she had filed the papers a couple of weeks before his appointment, as his “naked ambition” had left her at wits end. She was comfortable in her Long Island home as the wife of an investment banker, but detested the madness of D.C., reported multiple outlets.
Departure Theory Two: Bad blood. The main reason that The Mooch wasn’t appointed in January was because of push back from the previous Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus. The claim was the Priebus wanted Mooch to do the “right thing” and stand down until the Office of Governmental Ethic cleared him for the role, after selling a multibillion dollar hedge fund in order to join the administration. However, this doesn’t seem to be the only reason, as it took six months before Scaramucci could get his foot back in the White House door, and when he did Priebus allie, Sean Spicer, resigned, and then Reince Priebus seemed to be ousted shortly after. The Mooch then went on to send out a tweet, which was soon deleted, claiming that Priebus leaked his finical disclosures, threatening to have the F.B.I. investigate, though it then turned out the documents had been public the whole time due to his work with Export-Import Bank as chief strategy officer, in June of this year. He also deemed it appropriate to vent (being the polite word) to a reporter from the New Yorker, about leakers within the communications office. When the reporter wouldn’t give him a name of who the leak was, he threatened to fire everyone within the office, “What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over,” and “What I want to do is f****** kill all the leakers” Sounding more like a genocidal maniac, than a White House official. He also went after Steve Bannon, the Chief Strategist for the administration, remarking his service was autofellatious, only trying to self brand himself, and serve his own ego.
Departure Theory Three: His financial deals made him and ethical question mark. In January he sold his company, SkyBridge Capital, to a politically connected Chinese group, after being asked by President Trump to join his administration as a senior official. This lead to the Office of Governmental Ethics (OGE) getting involved, in-order to officially clear him for the role they needed to make sure he had no investments that may cause ethical uncertainty (as is the norm). They are committed to protecting the principle that public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain. However, he has not officially been cleared by the OGE, and recently (6th of July) the Head of the OGE, Walter Shaub, resigned, sending a clear message to the President that he does not agree with the ethical practices of the administration, specifically the tendency to stay invested in private international business while in office. Upon the release of Scaramucci’s financial disclosures by Politico, the ones Mooch claimed Priebus had leaked, it was highlighted rather quickly, that he was able to gain more-so, from the sale of his company SkyBridge Capital, in the capacity of Director of Communications. Given the heat around the administration regarding financial deals and trades, it is fair that they wouldn’t want another story of money meddling in White House policy creation.
Departure Theory Four: The Man was in the midst of a mental breakdown. This is not something I joke about, or take lightly, but in the reading of transcripts of the conversations between him and reporters, or in the tweets he has sent out, you can see a man under massive amounts of stress. He seemed to feel the world was out to get him, becoming paranoid that around every corner was Priebus or others from “The Swamp” ready to try undermine him, or discredit his expertise. This, along with the lack of trust in his own communications staff, and his wife leaving him depicts a man in the midst of crisis, with the flares of paranoia being either a cause, or a symptom.
No matter the true reason for Anthony Scaramucci’s departure, we can take a lot from this story. It paints a vivid picture of how money no longer just buys influence in government, it IS the government. Supposedly President Trump surrounds himself with a cabinet and administration of millionaires, because he wants “winners” and “they are so rich they can’t be bought”. This just shows how disassociated the White House now is from the people who voted for them, predominantly working class Americans. We see a White House staff that aren’t content with working together for a unified agenda, but only to fulfill their own personal ambition, happy to backstab, or close the door on others to protect their own individual bubble. Some incorrectly herald this as the White House coming under stress from the media and congressional calls for impeachment, but this is not true. This is a form of political strategy that has been forming from the Nixon days, and carried on by Rodger Stone, a major political strategist through the past half century. It is a strategy where you play by the rules to win. As long as you are within the rules you are fine, it doesn’t matter if it is moral or not, you play the game to win. This is exactly what Trump did, however there definitely is cause to ask “was it all within the rules.” Either way, the President sets a president for his staff, he is the patriarchal figure head of this administration, and if he does it, then they can. If he slams people via twitter, then so can they. If he doesn’t fully de-invest in business, then why should they. It shows government officials going into it all for personal ambition, not public service. This is not an issue localized to this administration, nor is it a US only issue, but increasingly we see people going into public service for fame, not service, and likewise there is a definite decrease in the numbers of people who truly want to help build a brighter future, going into public service. Many opt for working in the charity sector, trying to make a difference from the bottom up. We need these people in government as well.
The story of Scaramucci should not just be laughed at, and celebrated as a sign of a flimsy white house, it should be yet another wake up call to the state of affairs of western democracy.