“Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “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 was under fire after the New Yorker published an expletive-filled conversation he had with one of its writers, Ryan Lizza.
Sanders told reporters that Trump felt that Scaramucci’s comments were “inappropriate.” She said that Trump did not want to “burden” Kelly with a communications director who reported to the president, not the chief of staff.
Scaramucci was not scheduled to officially begin his job until Aug. 15.
According to the New York Times, Scaramucci’s removal came at the request of Trump’s new chief of staff, John Kelly, who started in his new job on Monday.
There had been speculation about Scaramucci’s future ever since Trump replaced chief of staff Reince Priebus with Kelly. Scaramucci had made a point of telling Lizza that he reported directly to Trump, not Priebus, but it was unclear whether that chain of authority would still be in place once Kelly took over.
“I have no doubt that he will be an absolutely superb chief of staff,” Trump said of Kelly at a cabinet meeting on Monday.
Sanders said that Kelly will have “full authority” in the White House. Asked whether that meant that chief strategist Steve Bannon, his daughter Ivanka, and son-in-law Jared Kushner would report to the new chief of staff, she said, “That includes everyone at the White House.”
Scaramucci, the founder of SkyBridge Capital who has been a commentator on Fox Business, was a loyal Trump confidant during the 2016 campaign, but his selection as communications director just 11 days ago triggered a chain reaction of shakeups at the White House. Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, resigned in protest, and Priebus departed last week.
But Scaramucci, who had expected to be a fierce, loyal, and even brash defender of Trump’s, ran into trouble last week, after he called Lizza to try to find out about his source of a leak. During the call, Scaramucci trashed Priebus, threatened to fire the entire White House communications staff, and made a vulgar comment about Bannon. Scaramucci also said that he was going to contact the FBI and the Justice Department in regards to what he said was a leak of his financial disclosure form, even though it is a public record.
Since then, Scaramucci has kept a low profile, and canceled a planned appearance at last week’s Politicon in Pasadena, Calif.
Sanders said that Scaramucci “does not have a role at this time in the Trump administration,” which appeared to keep open the possibility that he could take some other role.
Trump selected him for the post even though he had no communications experience. In his first appearance before the media, Scaramucci, whose nickname is “The Mooch,” was fiercely loyal to Trump and showed a delivery that many labeled as schmoozy. He even blew an air kiss at the White House press corps. It was far different than that of previous communications directors who kept a much lower profile, and over the next few days Scaramucci made multiple appearances on news shows.
In fact, he turned out to be such a unique character for the position that there was speculation from the start on who would portray him on “Saturday Night Live.” Mario Cantone offered to play the part, and even appeared as Scaramucci in a skit on Comedy Central’s “The President Show” on Thursday.
Shortly after Scaramucci’s exit, Cantone tweeted, “Yes I did. I knew it. That’s why ya don’t wait. Ya do it in the now!. Strike now! Hey, There’s an old Italian expression…what d’ya gonna do?”