Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci has just been hired to lead the White House’s communications, and the upheaval turned the news cycle to mayhem. Namely, Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced he will leave his post in August, and he will be replaced by former deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. And Twitter has been abuzz with takes galore.
At his press conference, Scaramucci talked about his new role and how everything transpired. He also said some colorful and wacky things. Here are the highlights.
• When asked about Spicer, Scaramucci said he wished him the best and hoped the former press secretary goes on to “make a tremendous amount of money.” (For reference, Fox News has already publicly not ruled out the possibility of hiring him.)
• Trump is “the most competitive person I’ve ever met. I’ve seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. I’ve seen him at Madison Square Garden with a topcoat on, standing in the key and he’s hitting foul shots and swishing them, okay? He sinks three-foot putts. I don’t see this guy as a guy that’s ever under siege. This is a very, very competitive person.”
• On Trump’s ability to work with Congress on health care: “The president has really good karma, and the world turns back to him. He’s genuinely a wonderful human being, and as members of Congress get to know him better and get comfortable with him, they’re going to let him lead them to do the right things for the American people.”
• Noting the media’s scrutiny of the White House and his hiring, Scaramucci referenced Dave Eggers‘ book The Circle, “where you have to wear a police camera on you when you have private conversations.” Why not.
• At Goldman Sachs, where he and Steve Bannon both worked at separate times, Scaramucci said, “there were two great things about the culture: You subordinate yourself to your team even if you had disagreements.” And you stay modest. “I want to keep my head in the game, my ego low.”
• Scaramucci has said a few critical things about Trump, including that he was “a hack politician.” He said that Trump “brings it up every fifteen seconds,” and, addressing the camera, said, “Mr. President, if you’re listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time.” He also pointed a finger at the media. “That was three minutes of my life. He’s never forgotten it, you’ve never forgotten it, and I hope that someday Mr. President, you will forget it.”
• He cited Teddy Roosevelt, who said the presidency was “a bully pulpit.” Trump “has a great gift at being able to control the news cycle and able to control the messaging…. I think the policies are fantastic. he’s doing a phenomenal job. And we just need to get it out there a little more aggressively.”
• Of Trump’s social media power, he said, “I know he’s picking up about 300,000 followers a day, God bless him.”
• How will he make sure he’s on the same page as the President when it comes to messaging? “I think it’s super important for us to let him express his personality. It has been a very successful life experience for President Trump to be President Trump. So let’s let him do that… Let’s see where the chips fall,” and if there are differences, “we’ll address that.”
• When asked about Trump’s claim that 3 million people voted illegally, the new communications head hedged: “If the President says it, let me do more research on it.” He then added, “there’s probably some level of truth to it.”
Then he said au revoir: