Anthony Scaramucci, who served briefly as White House communications director last year, made headlines Wednesday when he called President Trump “a liar” during a CNN interview.
On Thursday, as he continued a media blitz promoting a new book about Trump, Scaramucci sought to backpedal. No, he said, Trump is not “a liar.” He’s “an intentional liar” who uses “a methodology of mistruth” with the aim of unsettling the mainstream media and the political left.
Scaramucci’s parsing comes as Trump has increasingly been under fire for abandoning the truth.
Just in recent days, he has claimed without evidence that there were dangerous “Middle Easterners” mixed in a migrant caravan making its way toward the United States; that Congress — which is out of session — would deliver a middle-class tax cut by the end of the month; and that Republicans were more committed to protecting Americans with preexisting medical conditions than Democrats.
During the CNN interview, Scaramucci was asked if he considers Trump a liar.
“Okay, well we both know that he’s telling lies,” Scaramucci responded. “So if you want me to say he’s a liar, I’m happy to say he’s a liar.”
In media interviews on Thursday, Scaramucci wasn’t so happy to say that.
“They asked me if the president tells mistruths or lies,” Scaramucci said of his CNN interview during an appearance on Fox News. “I said he does intentionally lie to create a dog whistle and create some atmospherics ... So they go and put a little tagline, ‘Scaramucci calls president a liar.’ That’s not what I was doing.”
“I didn’t really say the president was a liar,” he insisted. “I said the president is using a methodology of mistruth to create that level of tension and anxiety. He’s like pushing the mainstream media and the left, and he’s trying to galvanize his base, and it’s a media device.”
During another television appearance Thursday, Scaramucci — whose book is titled “Trump: The Blue-Collar President” — pressed his case in a slightly different way.
“He’s an intentional liar,” Scaramucci said of Trump, while on Bloomberg TV. “It’s very different from just being a liar-liar.”
“Yes, the president is speaking mistruths,” Scaramucci continued. “Yes, the president is lying. He’s doing it intentionally to incite certain people, which would include left-leaning journalists and most of the left-leaning politicians.”
Scaramucci said responses by the media and politicians have been ineffectual, comparing them to bullied schoolchildren who reach out to hall monitors for help.
“If someone’s taking your lunch money in the cafeteria, if you call the hall monitor, it’s not going to help you,” Scaramucci said. Instead, “you’ve got to defeat the person at the table with your peer group.”