And so it goes. As a card-carrying, O.G. never-Trump Republican, I’m almost tempted to cut Scaramucci some slack, welcome him to the fold and assure him that this was inevitable. His bromance with Trump could never have lasted, because Trump is an utterly faithless creature for whom support is never enough: Trump demands humiliation and subjugation, not counsel and insight. It only took Scaramucci’s mild chiding — that Trump’s unseemly response to the mass killings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, including his recent visits to those cities, was a “catastrophe” — for Scaramucci to hop off (or be tossed from, depending on your point of view) the Trump train and to dutifully sign up for The Resistance™.
Before Scaramucci gets his own #WokeMooch hashtag, though, let’s check his credentials.
Yes, he’s had it with Trump, but there’s something that grinds about the road-to-Damascus conversion narrative of the president’s former confidant and fellow New York blowhard. There’s a whiff of a reality-TV tease, the aroma of a pro-wrestling kayfabe, the faint stench of a canned I’m fired? No, you’re fired! melodrama, mostly because none of Trump’s character flaws were hidden from Scaramucci or anyone else in the enabler class: The short-fingered, short-tempered vulgarian occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. didn’t just spring his semiliterate, Twitter-raging, race-baiting, self-declared-private-parts-grabbing, logic-averse, serial-lying and crony-coddling governing style last week — he’s been this guy all along. And Scaramucci, and his ilk, have defended him, touting his alleged brilliance every step of the way. Here’s a gem from Scaramucci’s introductory news conference, in the White House press briefing room, at the start of his ill-fated 11-day run as Trump’s communications director:
“I was in the Oval Office with him earlier today, and we were talking about letting him be himself, letting him express his full identity. I think he’s got some of the best political instincts in the world and perhaps in history. When you think about it he started his political ascent two years and two months ago, and he’s done a phenomenal job for the American people.”
Or a week later, on CNN: “He’s our leader and one of the smartest people that I’ve ever met, if not the smartest. He’s just smart in a different way than maybe some of the people in the journalist community don’t like.”
It raises the question: Is Scaramucci on an all ‘shrooms and bootleg vodka diet? Does his circle of friends consist primarily of members of the Trump University dean’s list? Or is it more likely he always knew Trump was a trash-talking clod before getting behind him and later taking a West Wing job. Odds are Scaramucci had seen Trump up close and personal, the president actively governing as a policy-allergic windbag, when “The Mooch” gave him all those glowing reviews. So before deciding whether to stamp or yank Scaramucci’s never-Trump card, it’s also worth asking: Was Scaramucci’s shtick performative then or is it performative now?
Mr. Mooch, did you mean it this week when you said Trump is “mentally declining” and “creating a corrosive, socially dividing cancer in the country”? Or did you mean what you wrote in your book just last year, that the job of president “requires the same quick thinking and ingenuity as working in the private sector. This is why Donald Trump is fundamentally suited for the office.”
Because, I mean … Trump inherited daddy’s real estate money, thought the United States Football League was good business, ran a failed airline and — good Lord — messed up running casinos. This president was never that man. Not on his best day.
Media also-rans and Twitter denizens have played a parlor game these last few years, arguing back and forth about “how you got Trump”; from the earnest, but weaksauce argument that liberal elites’ “sneering condescension” and political correctness propelled Trump’s rise, to the did-these-clowns-really-waste-Internet-on-this? theory, “Your Refusal To Date Conservatives Is One Reason We Have Donald Trump.”
But you don’t need to appoint a crackerjack special counsel to figure this one out. Even a patsy like former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein could solve this one. You got this president because people such as Scaramucci decided to caddy for Trump while he spotted himself an extra, um, stroke.
In the last few years, an ensemble cast of pathetic characters ranging from Omarosa Manigault-Newman to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have, at one point, been on record lambasting the president and, at other points, chirped out his praises like so many self-owning mockingbirds. The Mooch is just one of dozens, perhaps hundreds, many of them old hands in Washington, who darned sure knew better, who got the part and played their role in rationalizing Trump’s pathological presidency. No, he’s not alone. But Anthony Scaramucci is how you got Trump.