NEW YORK — For weeks now, Anthony Scaramucci has been seemingly all over the airwaves, talking to the likes of CNBC, Fox and NPR about the virtues of a Donald Trump presidency.
A hedge fund manager who was hardly a household name, Scaramucci is suddenly in demand as an insider who can authentically preach the Trump economic gospel. He vocally supported the Republican’s presidential campaign when much of Wall Street kept mum or expressed skepticism. Now, he is part of a small club helping the mogul prepare for the transition to the White House, a frequent visitor to Trump Tower in New York these days.
Scaramucci is widely expected to be the next Goldman Sachs alumnus to join the Trump administration, joining Steven Mnuchin, who has been nominated for treasury secretary, and Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, tapped to head the National Economic Council. Trump’s chief of strategy, Stephen K. Bannon, the chairman of the far-right Breitbart News, is also a Goldman alumnus.
For Wall Street, Scaramucci’s emergence — and the president-elect’s willingness to rely on Goldman Sachs alums — is yet another sign that the anger the industry faced following the 2008 financial crisis may be subsiding. Trump has said he wants to roll back the 2010 financial reform legislation, Dodd-Frank, that attempted to rein in big banks after the financial crisis. That prospect has sent the share prices of banking industry leaders soaring — Goldman Sachs’s stock is up 30 percent since the election.
“I think the cabal against the bankers is over,” Scaramucci said during a recent CNN interview. “What Mr. Trump is really trying to do right now is put the country together.”
What role Scaramucci might play in the administration is unclear. A spokesperson for Scaramucci said he was unavailable for comment and that “it’s early to talk about an administration job given that Anthony is working full time on the transition.”
During nearly 30 years on Wall Street, Scaramucci has built a reputation for having a boyish demeanor with a salesman’s touch. He started his career at Goldman Sachs being hired, fired, and rehired in a single year before leaving in 2006 to start his own hedge fund.
In that secretive world, Scaramucci has stood out for his willingness to be a vocal Wall Street booster. In 2010, during a CNBC town hall, he asked President Obama: “When are we going to stop whacking at the Wall Street pinata?” And his hedge fund, SkyBridge Capital, holds an annual conference in Las Vegas where industry insiders mix with celebrities and political heavyweights. (The 2016 conference included speeches by Kobe Bryant, former House speaker John A. Boehner and Kenneth C. Griffin, founder of Citadel, one of the world’s largest asset managers.)
On Twitter, Scaramucci sprinkles promotion of his third book—“Hopping Over the Rabbit Hole: How Entrepreneurs Turn Failure Into Success”—with promotion of Trump’s policies.
Scaramucci wasn’t always a big supporter of Trump. He initially backed the presidential campaign of Scott Walker, then Jeb Bush. Trump had often criticized the hedge fund industry, complaining that “the hedge fund guys are paying nothing” in taxes. The Long Island native snapped back. Trump has a “big mouth” and is an “inherited money dude from Queens County,” Scaramucci said during a Fox Business Network appearance in August 2015.
But as Trump drew closer to the Republican nomination, Scaramucci, a longtime GOP fundraiser, signed up to help. “I was with Governor Walker. That didn’t work out for me. I was with Jeb Bush. That didn’t work out for me. And so, you know, my point is that I’m a team-playing Republican,” Scaramucci said in a May interview with NPR.
Scaramucci became a top Wall Street fundraiser for Trump and after the election joined the executive transition team. He is part of a “tiger team” interviewing candidates for the thousands of jobs the new Trump administration must fill, a transition official said.
Like Trump, Scaramucci appears to largely agree that the tax code should be simplified and that financial reform legislation has made it more difficult for small businesses to get loans.
But Scaramucci’s efforts to support Trump have sometimes left him on the defensive.
During a heated exchange on CNN recently about global warming, Scaramucci referred to the “5,500-year history of our planet.” He quickly amended the statement to say “human history.” But it was too late. Scaramucci has spent days fielding online taunts.
“I said the earth is 4.5 billion years old,” he said in one of several tweets attempting to defuse the backlash. “[I am] not a climate change denier. Not a young-earther.”
Scaramucci has hardly been bashful about his Wall Street bona fides or Goldman Sachs connections.
“Dream Team,” he tweeted after Trump said he would appoint Cohen to join Mnuchin in his administration.
The choices drew criticism that Trump was getting too cozy with Goldman Sachs, a bank he had been critical of during the campaign.
“The idea that ever working for Goldman Sachs automatically makes you the devil is one of the most irrational conspiracies in modern history,” Scaramucci has said.