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Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, apparently has quite the mouth on him.
Although "The Mooch" seemed quite serene and conciliatory in his first appearance at the communications lectern, the man who called The New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza July 26 was anything but. According to Lizza, Scaramucci wanted to know who leaked information about a dinner that he had with President Trump, the First Lady, Sean Hannity and former Fox News executive Bill Shine. When Lizza refused to reveal his sources to Scaramucci, the communications director tried to appeal to his sense of patriotism.
“You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country," Scaramucci told Lizza. "So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”
Scaramucci appeared to be convinced that the leak about the dinner - about which there doesn't appear to be anything untoward - was the work of White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. While Priebus and Scaramucci have said there's no bad blood between them, the two haven't exactly been the closest of allies. Priebus apparently fought to keep Scaramucci out of the White House and Trump has said that Scaramucci will report directly to him instead of the chief of staff - a move that will have undoubtedly not impressed Priebus.
Scaramucci, however, has gotten increasingly public about his threats to fire various individuals through his brief tenure as communications director. Michael Short resigned the day prior to Scaramucci's call to Lizza; Short was a White House aide that was rumored to be close with Priebus, and Scaramucci had publicly spoken about firing him.
Lizza also made it clear that Scaramucci had initiated the call to him; Lizza hadn't been in pursuit of a story at the time with Scaramucci and was curious why Scaramucci was so concerned that the story about the dinner be kept private. Scaramucci never made that point clear, but definitely made it clear that he was determined to find out who leaked news about the dinner.
“They’ll all be fired by me,” he said. “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he’ll be asked to resign very shortly.”
Scaramucci seemed determined to eliminate any threat to the president's agenda, which he perceived to be the leaks to the media.
“What I want to do is I want to f-ing 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 of the reported leaks.
During his conversation with Lizza, he also insinuated that Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, was involved in what could be politely referred to as inappropriate gymnastic activity.
"I'm not Steve Bannon, I'm not trying to suck my own ****," Scaramucci said. "I'm not trying to build my own brand off the ******* strength of the president. I'm here to serve the country."
When Lizza's story broke about his conversation with Scaramucci, the communications director was quick to tweet that he believed he'd made an error.
"I made a mistake in trusting a reporter," Scaramucci tweeted. "It won't happen again."
Questions erupted about Scaramucci's actual competence as communications director because he seemed to think that going off on a reporter about the issues that he perceived with leakers in the White House was a safe move.
"If you don't want to be interviewed, don't call the @NewYorker," tweeted user @MollyJongFast.
Twitter user @naimely noted that perhaps The Mooch had no business being a communications director for the White House if he didn't truly understand the implications of talking to a reporter.
"If he doesn't know the consequences of talking to a reporter, then Scaramucci has no business being WH Comms Director," @naimely noted. "Sheesh!"
According to Lizza's story in The New Yorker, Scaramucci also implied that he had information that could lead to legal trouble for some White House aides.
“This is going to get cleaned up very shortly, O.K.?" he told Lizza. "Because I nailed these guys. I’ve got digital fingerprints on everything they’ve done through the F.B.I. and the f-ing Department of Justice.”
The "cleanup" that Scaramucci refers to is not entirely clear, although now that the phone call that he made to Lizza is out in the ether, the clean up may very well be to his own career at this point. According to Telegraph, during Lizza's interview with CNN, Scaramucci called in and changed his story about what he actually said about Priebus.