From the start of the Trump administration, Sean Spicer held down the fort in the public relations sector, serving as communications director and press secretary. On July 22, however, that changed when Spicer announced his resignation from both posts.
Spicer’s departure was a surprise, but it wasn’t a shock. Then-Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had taken over a majority of the White House’s daily press briefings, and, apart from his resignation speech,Spicer had only delivered one since June 20.
After Spicer quit, Sanders’ ascension to press secretary was predictable. The bigger question was who would replace Spicer in his role as communications director.
Enter Anthony Scaramucci, a former hedge fund broker in New York City and, though once a critic, an ardent Donald Trump supporter.
At first, the media’s take on “The Mooch” – a nickname Scaramucci embraces – was simply recon. Upon taking the communications director role, the focus shifted to The Mooch’s vow to quickly eliminate any leakers from the White House.
Scaramucci also told reporters that he would not operate as most White House staffers do. As Maggie Haberman of The New York Times tweeted, Scaramucci said he would bypass now-former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and go to Trump directly:
Mooch, asked whether he reports to Reince or direct to DJT, says he'll let Reince answer that, "president said I report to him directly."
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) July 21, 2017
The focus on Scaramucci drastically changed, though, once news of a certain phone call came out.
Scaramucci allegedly called Ryan Lizza, the Washington correspondent for The New Yorker, on the phone soon after accepting the job. He spoke candidly about his disgust for Priebus and Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.
Lizza claims that Scaramucci blamed many of the leaks on Priebus and referred to him as a “fucking paranoid schizophrenic.” He followed up with some words about the chief strategist, saying, “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.”
After Lizza published his account of his phone call with Scaramucci, The Mooch himself didn’t deny what transpired, but he took the opportunity to make Lizza’s divulgence a bigger issue about media trust with the White House. He addressed it, albeit subliminally, in a curt tweet:
I made a mistake in trusting in a reporter. It won't happen again.
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) July 28, 2017
Nevertheless, Priebus was out by the end of Scaramucci’s first week, having resigned from his post last Thursday. John Kelly, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, took his place in an unexpected move.
The news about Scaramucci didn’t end there. His wife, Dierdre Ball, has filed for divorce, largely due to her husband’s admiration of Trump. She reportedly filed while nine months pregnant, and The Mooch missed the birth of their child, only to text his congratulations four days later.
But President Trump likes Scaramucci and values his loyalty. In one of many public critiques against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump tweeted that Scaramucci, in fact, wanted to be the first person to publicly endorse his run for president:
In all fairness to Anthony Scaramucci, he wanted to endorse me 1st, before the Republican Primaries started, but didn't think I was running!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017
Where Scaramucci takes this White House, and his time in it, is anyone’s guess. But it appears that his colorful personality and candid nature are welcomed by the president, at least for the time being.