Anthony Scaramucci warns Trump to beware ‘enemy within’
Anthony Scaramucci has claimed that Donald Trump is still fighting an “enemy within” the White House and warned the president to change his strategy if he wanted to bring in his own agenda.
In his first television interview since his short-lived reign as Trump’s communications chief, Scaramucci said the president had done “way better” than he was given credit for in his first seven months in his office.
But asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday if Trump was fighting “an enemy within”, Scaramucci said: “I think there are elements inside of Washington, also inclusive of the White House, that are not necessarily abetting the president’s interests or his agenda. I absolutely believe that, yes.”
Asked to name names, Scaramucci said he had done so – referring to his foul-mouthed outburst against former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon which cost the former banker his job after only 10 days.
“There’s been some strategic changes and my guess is there’ll be more strategic changes. I think the president is getting his arms around the fact that if he wants to prosecute his agenda he’s got to bring in loyalists to him … He’s got to bring in a different strategy to the one he’s been deploying.
“He’s done a tremendous amount. He’s done way better in terms of progress as president than has been prominently displayed and one of my heartbreaks is that I wasn’t able to effectively communicate that to the American people.”
Scaramucci, who refers to himself as The Mooch, then likened himself to the character in the film Pulp Fiction who is called in to clean up the mess of a killing.
“Listen, I saw it more as like Mr Wolf from Pulp Fiction. You know, I really did get a directive from the president. I had a mutual understanding with him. And I was probably running too hard and acting more like a corporate CEO than I was say a political operative, and that is my mistake. And I have to own that.”
But he said the odds were stacked against him succeeding in the role. “There were leaks and there was a repetitive process to try to dislodge me. I made an unforced error. That made it easy to dismiss me,” he said.
Scaramucci said he had underestimated his enemies and warned the president not to make the same mistake.
“The president is not a representative of the political establishment class,” he said. “And so for whatever reason, people have made a decision that they want to eject him.
“It’s almost like he’s opened up the door now for America’s CEOs and America’s billionaires to enter the Washington political system. I see it as a strong CEO that’s now the American president that’s making counterintuitive decisions that may not be liked by the members of the media, but may be in the best interests of the people of the United States.”
However, he also implied that Bannon was one of those trying to undermine the president.
“At the end of the day, I think the president has a very good idea of who the leakers are inside the White House. The president has a very good idea of the people that are undermining his agenda that are serving their own interests,” Scaramucci said.
Asked by Stephanopoulos if they included Bannon, Scaramucci replied: “Well, yes. Look, I mean, we’re not on a phone call, and a taped phone call. And so we’re on live television, and so I would prefer to let the president make the decisions that the president needs to make.”
He warned that there’s “this sort of ‘Bannon-bart’ influence” in the White House that “is a snag on the president”. When asked by Stephanopoulos if that influence stemmed from Bannon, Scaramucci replied, “I think the president knows what he’s going to do with Steve Bannon.”