Finally a former aide to President Trump is speaking candidly. At least a little.
Anthony Scaramucci, who lasted just 10 days as White House communications director, isn't exactly on a rampage, but he has been willing to criticize Trump and members of the president's team since being ousted two weeks ago. On CBS's “Late Show” Monday night, Scaramucci told Trump basher Stephen Colbert that:
- Trump “should have been way harsher” on white supremacists when making his first remarks about violent demonstrations in Charlottesville on Saturday
- “There was a lot of infighting” in the White House, where people “go behind each other's backs”
- “There was no love lost” between Scaramucci and former chief of staff Reince Priebus
- Chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon is a leaker and “if it was up to me, he would be gone”
- The White House tolerates white supremacist views
That is more frankness in one Scaramucci interview than the public has gotten in 14 months of TV appearances by Corey Lewandowski, Trump's former campaign manager, who was fired last June but remains an unfailing defender of the president.
In fact, roughly seven hours after Scaramucci's interview aired, Lewandowski was on “Fox & Friends,” arguing that Trump was plenty tough on white supremacists and that “the media should be embracing the president's words, saying he's trying to bring the country together.”
Lewandowski's approach is the norm for former Trump aides, whether by choice or by force. Priebus and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer have refused to say a bad word about the president since leaving his employ. As a candidate and a businessman, Trump routinely required people who worked for him to sign nondisclosure agreements that prohibit disparaging remarks.
Here's what the Associated Press reported a day after Lewandowski's termination:
According to a Trump nondisclosure agreement obtained by the Associated Press, the celebrity billionaire has broad discretion over what could constitute a breach of confidentiality.
Employees are restricted from publicly disclosing information “of a private, proprietary or confidential nature or that Mr. Trump insists remain private or confidential,” according to the document. It also requires them to return or destroy copies of any confidential information upon Trump’s request. The agreement is binding during employment and “and at all times thereafter.”
A short time later, Trump sued another former aide, Sam Nunberg, accusing him of breaching a nondisclosure agreement by leaking information to the press. A copy of the agreement submitted as an exhibit in the case included the following language:
During the term of your service and at all times thereafter you hereby promise and agree not to demean or disparage publicly the company, Mr. Trump, any Trump company, any family member or any family member company or any asset any of the foregoing own, or product or service any of the foregoing offer, in each case by or in any of the restricted means and contexts.
Nunberg countersued, and the two sides ultimately settled.
Scaramucci appears unbound by a nondisclosure agreement — or unconcerned that Trump might sue him.
“I'm probably the only person that would come from the Trump administration or formerly from the Trump administration to sit here,” he told Colbert on Monday.
He is probably right. Scaramucci is the ex-Trump aide we've been waiting for.