Leaks, threats and insults. And it lasted less than two weeks. Here's a look back at the very short tenure of the White House's latest communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. (Victoria Walker,Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

The defining moment of Anthony Scaramucci’s 11-day tenure as President Trump’s White House communications director came when he called New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza seeking to discover Lizza’s sources for a scoop about who was coming to dinner at the White House on that particular night (Sean Hannity, Bill Shine and others, as it turned out). In the course of the call, Scaramucci slimed colleagues Reince Priebus (who Scaramucci suggested was a leaker) and Stephen K. Bannon (who Scaramucci suggested could pleasure himself in hard-to-execute ways) as he pushed for the names of Lizza’s sources.

The next morning, on CNN, Scaramucci made amends to Lizza in a bizarre cable-news moment: “When I was speaking to you last night, Ryan, I said it was unpatriotic that you weren’t telling me who the leakers were. I was on a plane landing in New York. I have to go visit my mom. And so you may have caught it the wrong way. I was teasing you and it was sarcastic. It was one Italian to another. It wasn’t me trying to get you to say — if you could give me a sense of who they are because I have a responsibility to the president of the United States. When you said you didn’t, I totally respect your journalism and your integrity.”

That very day — July 27 — Lizza checked in with Scaramucci, via a call in which the reporter confirmed with The Mooch that their discussion the previous evening had been on the record.

Stop trying to make the pivot happen, Gen. Kelly. (Gillian Brockell,Adriana Usero/The Washington Post)

On July 31, Scaramucci was fired by a new chief of staff, John F. Kelly, who was seeking to instill some discipline in an unruly White House.

There was a time, before Twitter, when a dismissal of this sort would have ended such an embarrassing episode for a White House. But the Mooch leverages platforms:

Linda Tripp is the former Pentagon public affairs official who secretly recorded chats with Monica Lewinsky discussing her sexual encounters with then-President Bill Clinton.

Clearly, there are two rather enormous differences that The Mooch discounts:

  • One, that Lizza and Scaramucci both agreed that their conversation was on the record;
  • Two: “Under the relevant law, Ryan Lizza did not need Anthony Scaramucci’s consent to record the conversation,” a spokeswoman for the New Yorker tells the Erik Wemple Blog over email.
Then-White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci insulted White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and President Trump's chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon in an interview published by the New Yorker on July 27. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)

The episode does nothing but perpetuate the questions underlying the Scaramucci debacle, which are: How did this fellow make it into the White House in the first place, and how on Earth did he last so long there?