On Monday, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci appeared on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” where he faced a late-night host who for weeks has gleefully joked about his brief and chaotic time in the White House.
“It’s great to be here,” Scaramucci said after walking onstage to boos from the audience and the house band’s riff on Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which Colbert had parodied weeks earlier at Scaramucci’s expense (“Scaramouche, Scaramouche, can you do the fandango?”).
“Is it?” Colbert asked.
“I’m like Arya Stark, I took a list of all your comedy writers — my kill list,” Scaramucci said, referencing Colbert’s jokes about the infamous interview that preceded Scaramucci’s abrupt removal from the Trump administration.
“So you’re comedically threatening to kill people who work for me?” Colbert asked.
“I’m kidding!” Scaramucci said. “I’m not allowed to joke anymore. I’ve learned that.”
“I want you to know, just for the record, this is on the record, this is being recorded,” Colbert told Scaramucci. “That’s a microphone you’re wearing right now.”
With that out of the way, Colbert said he had one “gotcha” question for Scaramucci. “Nazis: good or bad?” he asked.
“Super bad,” Scaramucci said.
Colbert asked Scaramucci to explain Trump’s failure to specifically condemn the white supremacists behind the weekend violence in Charlottesville.
“It was late, I’m not going to say that it wasn’t, but he did go to the White House today and he did make a statement,” said Scaramucci, who had criticized Trump’s initial response in earlier interviews. “It was very declarative.”
“The president had prepared remarks on Saturday, and he had prepared remarks today,” Colbert noted. “Today he stuck to the script. Saturday, he went off-script with his ‘many sides, many sides.’
“That was an ad-lib in the moment,” Colbert continued. “Which one do you think he meant?”
“I know him as a compassionate person,” Scaramucci said to more boos from Colbert’s audience.
“In what way is he a compassionate person?” Colbert asked. “What is the evidence of that.”
“It’s a super tough job,” Scaramucci said. “He made a step to give up what was a luxurious lifestyle.”
“Who cares?” Colbert interjected. “Really, we’re supposed to feel bad for a guy because he gave up his million-dollar lifestyle and he’s the most powerful man in the world?”
Colbert returned to the question at hand. “Condemning white supremacy and neo-Nazis is a one-inch putt,” he said. “Why do you think he choked?”
Scaramucci noted that the president is often unorthodox in his remarks, adding that “some of that worked during the campaign.”
“But the campaign is over,” Colbert said. “Now, he’s the president.”
“Let’s be fair to him today,” Scaramucci said. “He did condemn the Nazis today.”
“Does he order his spine on Amazon Prime?” Colbert asked. “Why did it take so long?”
Colbert moved on. What was it like working in the Trump White House for 10 days?
“From the outside it looks like a dumpster fire,” Colbert said.
“It’s a tough place,” Scaramucci said. “There was a lot of infighting.”
“Whatever you think about me, I was pretty open about how I think about people,” Scaramucci added.
Colbert showed a photo of Scaramucci and former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus: “This is you over here holding your thumbs in your belt like a gunslinger,” Colbert noted. “And this is Reince Priebus. What is going on? Were you brought in just to get rid of him? And Sean Spicer?”
“I don’t want to say it that way,” Scaramucci replied.
“Say it like the Mooch,” Colbert implored. “Give me some Mooch.”
“So the Mooch … would say there’s no love lost there, I mean obviously, look at the picture,” Scaramucci said, explaining that the photo was taken by a Wall Street Journal reporter ahead of Trump’s interview with the paper. “The weird thing about my relationship with Reince is we were actually pretty good friends when I was a political donor writing checks to the RNC, but once I became part of the administration … it was a little more adversarial.”
“Now, you thought he was one of the leakers,” Colbert told Scaramucci.
“I did,” Scaramucci said.
“He’s gone,” Colbert noted. “Who’s leaking now. Is it Steve Bannon?”
“Well, I’ve said that,” Scaramucci said.
“Is he going to be gone in a week?” Colbert pressed. “What does the Mooch think?”
“Well, if it was up to me, he would be gone, but it’s not up to me,” Scaramucci said.
Colbert had more questions about Trump’s chief strategist. “Are there elements of white supremacy in the White House right now?” Colbert asked, referencing former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s assertion that the Charlottesville protests were part of a movement aiming to “fulfill the promises of Donald Trump.”
“Is Steve Bannon a white supremacist?” Colbert asked.
“I don’t think he’s a white supremacist, though I’ve never asked him,” Scaramucci said. “What I don’t like is the toleration of it. It’s something that should be completely and totally intolerated.”
Ultimately, Colbert wanted to know if Scaramucci felt “burned” by his experience with the Trump administration.
“Not at all,” Scaramucci said. “When you take a job like that, you know your expiration is coming.”
“I didn’t think I’d last too long,” he continued. “But I thought I’d last longer than a carton of milk.”