New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci straight-up freaked out on Thursday, in a public diatribe that sent shock waves through Washington.
Scaramucci, who has not officially taken office, gave an introductory press conference on July 21. He almost immediately began trying to publicly undermine White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, some say with an eye toward forcing him out.
In a Wednesday tweet, now deleted, Scaramucci accused Priebus of committing a felony by leaking his financial disclosure form to the press. “In light of the leak of my financial disclosure form which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and @TheJusticeDept #swamp @Reince45”
A reporter pointed out that it’s a publicly available document.
On Wednesday night, Scaramucci then phoned up The New Yorker and unloaded to reporter Ryan Lizza in a remarkable, expletive-filled diatribe, calling Priebus an “f—ing paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.” (Perhaps a continuance of Trump’s strategy of accusing his opponents of something he himself has done.)
He also took aim at White House adviser Steve Bannon: “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock.”
Scaramucci also reinforced his fixation on rooting out White House 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,” he said.
To conclude the call, he said, “Let me go, though, because I’ve gotta start tweeting some shit to make this guy crazy.”
When the media firestorm promptly ignited on Thursday, Scaramucci tweeted somewhat of a non- mea culpa: “I sometimes use colorful language. I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @realDonaldTrump’s agenda. #MAGA”
That day, Scaramucci called in to CNN’s “New Day” to discuss reports of the tweet about Priebus and the financial disclosure form. “When I put out a tweet and I put Reince’s name in a tweet, they’re all making the assumption that it’s him because journalists know who the leakers are,” Scaramucci said. “So if Reince wants to explain he’s not a leaker, let him do that. But let me tell you about myself. I’m a straight shooter and I’ll go right to the heart of the matter.”
He also said “the fish stinks from the head down.”
With a few hours to reflect on the situation he created, Scaramucci issued a tweet about the New Yorker interview. “I made a mistake in trusting in a reporter. It won’t happen again.”
When Scaramucci’s hiring was announced, it was widely questioned, because the financier has no experience in government or communications.