When he was appointed as the White House communications director in July of 2017, Anthony Scaramucci knew that he was being hired as “a hatchet man,” thinking he would last only one to three months in the job. Tasked with ridding the Trump West Wing of leakers, he was fired in 11 days.
“I had those guys on the run, trust me,” Scaramucci said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, who met “The Mooch” in person in San Francisco after tweet-trolling him humorously but relentlessly throughout his short tenure in D.C.
As it turns out, Scaramucci can take a joke and also is quick to make them about himself. “When I got fired, the irony of the whole thing was they were so scared to leak the damn thing, it didn’t get out until 2:00 pm. I got fired at 9:37 am,” he said.
Cementing his reputation as a “front-stabber,” he didn’t mince words on the podcast about some of the people he has crossed paths with in Washington. But after all is said and done, he is still a supporter of President Donald J. Trump, and thinks he won’t be unseated in 2020 unless Democrats run a Conor Lamb-esque conservative member of their party — something that Scaramucci is confident will not happen.
“Studying the data, going back to 1880 to today, [it’s] very hard to dislodge a sitting president,” he said. “If they [Democrats] were smart, they would say, ‘Listen, we can’t stand Trump, and I guess we’re lefter than left now, but if you want to beat this guy, we’ve got to bring on some of the anti-Trumper Republicans.’”
Below the embed, we’ve excerpted highlights of Scaramucci’s other predictions and observations from the new Recode Decode. You can listen to the full interview on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you get your podcasts.
On backstabbing in Washington
“These are terrible people. By and large, they are vicious people ... Let me tell you how it works in Silicon Valley and Wall Street, this is my observation: You build your business and you build you career off of relationships, so you’re trying to create a big karma bank: ‘I’m gonna do one for you, you’re gonna do one for me, we build a relationship. We may be competitors once in a while, but we’re both on the green team: We’re transacting over money.’ In Washington, they actually get off on hurting each other. They earn badges or stripes on their lapel if they hurt somebody else: ‘I crushed Swisher. I went after her with opposition research, I had 10 reporters write nasty things about her and she fell from grace! Look at me, look how cool I am! Look how important I am.’ They do that to each other and they admire it from each other.”
On former chief of staff Reince Priebus
“He had to be fired because he was the biggest leaker in the system, a very dishonest guy, unbelievably insecure. Had to be fired. He was doing so much damage to the president and also, he wasn’t staffing positions. If you were a #NeverTrump-er, he’d put you in a position. If you liked Trump, he’d find a way to block you. He was a disaster. I would love to debate him on live television.”
On former chief strategist Steve Bannon
“He’s a very smart guy. He has a philosophical and political point of view. For all of his railing on the system, he’s actually a cuck of the system. He’s a hypocrite. He went to Harvard Business School, he worked at Goldman Sachs, he was a Hollywood producer, he worked in Washington. He is an effing elitist. He dresses like a hobo, but he’s an elitist. What he is, he’s got this messianic complex about himself where he thinks he has the answer and others do not ... He’s now, at least, admitting he’s a racist.”
On the Access Hollywood tape
“[Trump]’s a hilarious guy. He’s saying something really stupid, he’s playing for a laugh, he’s got a hot mic on, okay? By the way, I have said so many stupid things in my life. I have made 10 phone books of mistakes in my life — at least three phone books of mistakes in 11 days inside the White House. I’m not gonna sit there and judge the guy. He said something regretful, he apologized for it, let’s move on.”
On the Mueller investigation
“I think he comes out of the Mueller investigation okay. Maybe there’ll be people in the periphery that are getting hit. Guy’s never used email, rarely uses his cellphone. I didn’t see any collusion, I’ll maintain that.”
On Trump’s war against the media
“I’m supportive of the president, but that is a mistake. No. 1, you’re not gonna win that war. No. 2, you’re not picking the right battle. No. 3, it’s okay to have an adversarial relationship with the media, but if you understand your role, you have to be cross-checked and hand-checked by the media. The founders said we don’t want anybody too power-hungry to get these positions because we know that power corrupts absolutely, like Lord Acton said.”
On Trump’s Twitter attacks
“That Twitter stuff comes from ‘I’m undefended, I don’t have the appropriate media advocacy, they’re hitting me, I’m gonna talk about Mika’s facelift.’ Don’t talk about Mika’s facelift. Let’s use Twitter for policy, let’s use Twitter for strategy. If you want to be cute and New Yorker, that’s fine, but let’s not go into Mika’s facelift. We don’t need to go in that direction.”
On supporters of President Trump in Silicon Valley
“There are people in Silicon Valley — and don’t worry, you’ll remain nameless for this podcast, I’m not gonna out you guys — but there’s a large group of people in Silicon Valley that, because of the fascism of the left, the left is primarily fascist, you can’t express your view. Forget about Peter Thiel, he’s out. You know, the gay community took a while to get out of the closet, it’s socially acceptable now? There’s a large group of people that are in the closet Trump supporters in Silicon Valley, trust me! They can’t come out of the closet because they’re shamed by leftist fascism. I’m a victim of leftist fascism, I can’t even go back to my alma mater. I’m not allowed back on the campus of Tufts University because I’m a Trump supporter.”
If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:
- Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
- Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode, answers the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Overcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
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This article originally appeared on Recode.net.