The Trump administration is one long exercise in desensitization. It has become difficult to be shocked by much of anything that happens.
That said, a just-published interview between new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci and the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza is crazy. It's vulgar, vindictive and volatile. Scaramucci muses about killing people. He talks about his new White House colleagues performing sex acts upon themselves (metaphorically, of course).
It's the kind of interview you expect from someone who is leaving their job in a blaze of glory — not someone who just accepted a job in an already embattled White House.
Here are five key parts:
1. He had choice words for Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, whom he accuses of leaking and blocking him from joining the White House
“Reince Priebus — if you want to leak something — he’ll be asked to resign very shortly. … Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.” He then did a Priebus imitation: " ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ”
2. He admitted, just minutes before doing it, that he was about to tweet at Priebus to suggest he was a leaker
“Yeah, let me go, though, because I’ve gotta start tweeting some shit to make this guy crazy.” Minutes later, he tweeted this. And then on Thursday morning, he bizarrely denied it was accusing Priebus of being a leaker.
This was the deleted tweet: pic.twitter.com/yOjFz03wXW
— Chris Geidner (@chrisgeidner) July 27, 2017
3. He attacked Trump's other chief adviser, Stephen K. Bannon, using vulgar sexual imagery
“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the president. I’m here to serve the country.”
4. He asks Lizza repeatedly who leaked the fact that he and President Trump were having dinner with Sean Hannity. He even pleads with him as a “patriot” and threatens to fire people.
“You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country,” Scaramucci says. “So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.” He promises to fire everyone if Lizza doesn't tell him: “I’m going to fire every one of them, and then you haven’t protected anybody, so the entire place will be fired over the next two weeks.” And: “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you.”
5. He also muses about killing leakers
“What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the president’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people.”
After the article published, Scaramucci tweeted about his “colorful language,” but made no apology.
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) July 27, 2017
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave Scaramucci, her boss, a thumbs-up for his treatment of Priebus earlier Thursday, saying Trump “likes that type competition and encourages it.” Scaramucci, to be clear, had just suggested that Priebus had committed a felony by leaking Scaramucci's personal financial disclosure. (It turns out it was a publicly available document. Oops.)
We'll see what happens Friday, but if the president is signing off on this kind of thing, we have entered a completely new phase in the White House's descent into chaos.
This post has been updated.