Politico reported Tuesday that White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci prompted the resignation of assistant press secretary Michael Short by telling Politico that he planned to fire Short as part of an effort to stop leaks to the press.
When Short resigned shortly after Politico published Scaramucci’s stated plans, Scaramucci went on to blame the Politico report for Short’s resignation.
According to Politico’s reporting, Scaramucci confirmed to Politico himself early Tuesday morning that he planned to fire Short at a morning meeting, but as Politico notes, “that move was apparently delayed.” Politico published a story on Scaramucci’s plan for the communications team at 9:15 am.
A few hours later, Axios’s Jonathan Swan tweeted that he had received a text message from Short saying he had resigned.
Text message just now from Michael Short: "I have resigned."— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) July 25, 2017
As CNN reported, Scaramucci expressed frustration to reporters Tuesday afternoon, suggesting that stories like Politico’s are why leaking needs to stop:
Let's say I'm firing Michael Short today. The fact that you guys know about it before he does really upsets me as a human being and as a Roman Catholic. I should have the opportunity if I have to let somebody go to let the person go in a very humane, dignified way, and then the next thing... is help the person get a job somewhere, OK, because he probably has a family, right? So now you guys are talking about it, it's not fair. ... Here's the problem with the leaking, why I have to figure out a way to get the leaking to stop, because it hurts people.
The White House, and its communications team especially, have been plagued by near constant leaks since the Trump administration took office. Even the resignation of Sean Spicer, Scaramucci’s predecessor, was characterized by “absurd — and revealing” leaks to the press, as Vox’s Andrew Prokop writes.
To be fair, in many cases it’s likely very difficult to determine which person on a large team, or in a room full of people, might have leaked information to the press. But, in this instance, that does not seem to be the case.
Here’s how Politico reported the story, verbatim: “Scaramucci confirmed to POLITICO early Tuesday that he planned to start by dismissing assistant press secretary Michael Short at a morning meeting.”