WASHINGTON – President Trump’s new communications director only lasted 10 days on the job.
The White House released a statement Monday afternoon announcing Anthony Scaramucci would be “leaving his role” as communications director, but it was clear he was forced out.
His brief tenure ended with a distinct irony: After apparently succeeding in getting the president to fire the White House chief of staff, it was the chief of staff’s replacement who axed Scaramucci.
The Wall Street Journal reported that immediately following the swearing-in ceremony of John Kelly, the new White House chief of staff told Scaramucci he had to resign.
CBS reported Scaramucci was escorted out of the White House.
The terse White House statement said Scaramucci wanted to give Kelly “a clean slate and the ability to build his own team.”
Scarmucci’s time on the job was so brief, he was released two weeks before his official start date of Aug. 15.
Kellyanne Conway, current counselor to the president and frequent spokesperson for the administration on television, is under consideration to become the next communications director, according to what a White House source told the Daily Caller.
The latest White House staff shakeup followed the firing of chief of staff Reince Priebus on Friday, and his replacement by Kelly. That followed an obscenity-laced tirade against Preibus by Scaramucci in the New Yorker last week.
And that was preceded by the resignation of press secretary Sean Spicer, after the hiring of Scaramucci. And then the promotion of his deputy, Sarah Sanders, to press secretary.
The White House portrayed Scaramucci’s bombastic interview as pivotal in the new hire’s quick dismissal.
“The president certainly felt that Anthony’s comments were inappropriate for a person in that position,” said Sanders at Monday’s daily press briefing.
The New York Times reported the firing of Scaramucci was the president’s decision but that Kelly had requested the removal of the wealthy New York financier.
The Times also reported Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general who previously served as Homeland Security secretary, made clear to staff members that he was in charge, at an early Monday morning meeting.
Scaramucci had pointed out in a press conference after his hiring that he would report directly to the president, not to the chief of staff, who, at the time, was Priebus.
However, Sanders said at the press briefing that all White House staff will now report to Kelly.
The Times said the new chief of staff told aides “he intended to impose a new sense of order and operational discipline that had been absent under his predecessor.”
There had been initial speculation Scaramucci might stay at the White House in another position because of the president’s fondness for him, but Sanders later clarified the former communications director “does not have a role at this time in this administration.”
The brief, three-sentence statement announcing Scaramucci’s depature simply read:
“Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director. Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best.”
Scaramucci’s primary mission seemed to be to stop the series of leaks to the press by White House staffers, threatening to fire “everyone” in the press office unless they ended, causing one staffer to resign last week.
Reports had suggested Trump was initially pleased with Scarmucci’s vitriolic and obscenity-filled New Yorker interview that characterized Priebus as “paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” while also targeting top presidential aide Steve Bannon.
But the Times reported that over the weekend the president “quickly soured on the wisecracking, Long Island-bred former hedge fund manager, and so had his family.”
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, top presidential aide Jared Kusher, reportedly pushed the president to hire Scaramucci in order to get rid of Priebus. But, the paper said, Trump’s family and the president “began to see the brash actions of his subordinate as a political liability and potential embarrassment.”
Kelly’s opposition to Scaramucci was said to be the clincher.
The Washington Post reported Kelly regarded Scaramucci’s New Yorker interview as “abhorrent and embarrassing for the president,” and that the new chief of staff wanted to “change the culture of the White House and to signal to staff that their comments always reflect on the president.”
All of these rapid changes followed the resignation of Spicer as press secretary 10 days ago in protest over the hiring of Scaramucci as communications director. Spicer had been doing double duty, also acting as communications director after the resignation of Mike Dubke two months ago. And Dubke had replaced Jason Miller, who resigned during the transition before even being sworn in.
Just as new press secretary Sanders said in the White House statement that Scaramucci wanted to give Kelly “a clean slate and the ability to build his own team,” after his resignation, Spicer had said he wanted “to give the president and the new team a clean slate.”
Spicer had said he would stay at the White House through August. It was not immediately clear if he will now stay longer.
Spicer was reportedly standing at the side of Sanders when she informed the communications staff of about 40 people on Monday that Scaramucci was out.
Early Monday morning, before the latest White House personnel shuffle, Trump had tweeted: “Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages rising, border secure, S.C.: No WH chaos!”
In the afternoon he tweeted, “A great day at the White House!”