How zany was Anthony Scaramucci's 10-day turn as White House communications director? His feud with Reince Priebus escalated to Shakespearean proportions — then turned out to involve an email prankster posing as President Trump's ousted chief of staff.
On top of everything else, Scaramucci got punked.
CNN's Jake Tapper reported Monday night on a heated email exchange that occurred on Saturday, the day after Trump replaced Priebus with John F. Kelly and three days after a bizarre episode in which Scaramucci on Twitter appeared to accuse Priebus of leaking a document that is actually a public record. Here's an excerpt of Tapper's report:
Masquerading as Priebus, the prankster emailed Scaramucci's official account using a mail.com account on Saturday, the day after Priebus' resignation was announced.
“I had promised myself I would leave my hands mud free,” wrote the fake Priebus, “but after reading your tweet today which stated how; 'soon we will learn who in the media who has class, and who hasn't', has pushed me to this. That tweet was breathtakingly hypocritical, even for you. At no stage have you acted in a way that's even remotely classy, yet you believe that's the standard by which everyone should behave towards you? General Kelly will do a fine job. I'll even admit he will do a better job than me. But the way in which that transition has come about has been diabolical. And hurtful. I don't expect a reply.”
The very real Scaramucci responded: “You know what you did. We all do. Even today. But rest assured we were prepared. A Man would apologize.”
Fake Priebus wrote back: “I can't believe you are questioning my ethics! The so called 'Mooch', who can't even manage his first week in the White House without leaving upset in his wake. I have nothing to apologize for.”
Actual Scaramucci responded: “Read Shakespeare. Particularly Othello. You are right there. My family is fine by the way and will thrive. I know what you did. No more replies from me.”
The same prankster also fooled homeland security adviser Tom Bossert, Eric Trump and Jon Huntsman Jr., the president's nominee to serve as ambassador to Russia, by posing as other officials.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN that “we take all cyber-related issues very seriously and are looking into these incidents further.”
Tapper reported that “the prankster appears motivated by mischief, not anything more malignant, so the severity of these White House pranks should not be overstated.” But it is hard to overstate the irony of Scaramucci's hoodwinking.
He swept into the White House on a mission to plug leaks — like anonymously sourced reports that he and Priebus don't get along — yet his brief tenure was defined by spilling information into the public domain on Twitter and TV, in a raving phone call to a New Yorker reporter and, finally, in an email to Priebus's digital decoy.