There are many people who dont think Donald Trump has changed since he won the presidency. Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is not one of them.
A lot of my liberal friends would say hes the same person that he was in 2015, but I dont see it that way, because back then, he had a lot more personality, and believe it or not, he could be self-deprecating and he had a sense of humour, he told me. Whats happened to Trump is the power and perceived attacks on him. Theres something in Trumps personality where hes not capable of rolling with the punches. So, hes a counter puncher, its almost like he drank a potion that made him the Incredible Hulk, a power puncher, you know.
Before the chain of events that catapulted him into the world of electoral politics, Mr Trump was just a famous businessman, running The Apprentice.
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He was not a candidate running for president, Mr Scaramucci began, recounting how a change in Trump began to evolve. At that time, there was a jocularity about Trump, a less serious side that was very entertaining. Once Trump became the candidate, the attacks kept coming in. Attacks on him that were no more or less than what the attacks on Obama, George Bush or even Bill Clinton, but Trump didnt handle it well.
Breaches of civility became the new normal of Trumps presidency, with the Oval Office as his bully pulpit. By calling the press the enemy of the people and his opponents stone losers, sleepy and crazy, President Trump forced all his conflicts and freshly baked political dramas into the daily lives of Americans through their TV sets.
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Everyone Trump has fired or forced out
1/13 John Bolton
Trump claimed to have fired Bolton, his national security adviser, while Bolton claimed he offered to resign. An anonymous White House source that Bolton’s departure came as a result of the national security adviser working too independently of the president
2/13 Anthony Scaramucci
Scaramucci lasted only six days in his role as Trump’s communications director before being fired by John Kelly, the incoming chief of staff
3/13 Rick Perry
Rick Perry announced his resignation just as he became embroiled in the president’s impeachment scandal. The White House said Mr Perry was asked by Donald Trump to work with Rudy GIuliani in regards to Ukraine.
4/13 Rex Tillerson
Tillerson, Trump’s first secretary of state, was fired after a series of clashes with the president over policy
5/13 James Mattis
Mattis served as secretary of defense from the beginning of Trump’s administration until retiring on 1 January 2019. However, the president later claimed that he had “essentially fired” Mattis
6/13 James Comey
Comey was fired as director of the FBI early in Trump’s presidency after serving in the role for four years prior. His dismissal is widely thought to have been related to the Russia investigation
7/13 Reince Priebus
Priebus, Trump’s first chief of staff, was forced out after six tumultuous months
8/13 David Shulkin
Veterans affairs secretary Shulkin claims that he was fired, the White House claims that he resigned
9/13 John Kelly
Kelly, Trump’s second chief of staff, was forced out after 17 months in office. His departure was a confused affair though it is clear that Trump wanted Kelly out
10/13 Michael Flynn
Flynn lasted 24 days as Trump’s national security adviser before being fired for lying to the FBI
11/13 Lee Cisna
Cisna served as director of citizen and immigration services between October 2017 and June 2019 before being asked to resign amid a major personnel change in the department of homeland security
12/13 Madeline Westerhout
Westerhout served as Trump’s personal assistant after leaking private information about his family
13/13 Mira Ricardel
Ricardel was forced out of her role as Deputy National Security Advisor after first lady Melania Trump publicly called for her to be fired
1/13 John Bolton
Trump claimed to have fired Bolton, his national security adviser, while Bolton claimed he offered to resign. An anonymous White House source that Bolton’s departure came as a result of the national security adviser working too independently of the president
2/13 Anthony Scaramucci
Scaramucci lasted only six days in his role as Trump’s communications director before being fired by John Kelly, the incoming chief of staff
3/13 Rick Perry
Rick Perry announced his resignation just as he became embroiled in the president’s impeachment scandal. The White House said Mr Perry was asked by Donald Trump to work with Rudy GIuliani in regards to Ukraine.
4/13 Rex Tillerson
Tillerson, Trump’s first secretary of state, was fired after a series of clashes with the president over policy
5/13 James Mattis
Mattis served as secretary of defense from the beginning of Trump’s administration until retiring on 1 January 2019. However, the president later claimed that he had “essentially fired” Mattis
6/13 James Comey
Comey was fired as director of the FBI early in Trump’s presidency after serving in the role for four years prior. His dismissal is widely thought to have been related to the Russia investigation
7/13 Reince Priebus
Priebus, Trump’s first chief of staff, was forced out after six tumultuous months
8/13 David Shulkin
Veterans affairs secretary Shulkin claims that he was fired, the White House claims that he resigned
9/13 John Kelly
Kelly, Trump’s second chief of staff, was forced out after 17 months in office. His departure was a confused affair though it is clear that Trump wanted Kelly out
10/13 Michael Flynn
Flynn lasted 24 days as Trump’s national security adviser before being fired for lying to the FBI
11/13 Lee Cisna
Cisna served as director of citizen and immigration services between October 2017 and June 2019 before being asked to resign amid a major personnel change in the department of homeland security
12/13 Madeline Westerhout
Westerhout served as Trump’s personal assistant after leaking private information about his family
13/13 Mira Ricardel
Ricardel was forced out of her role as Deputy National Security Advisor after first lady Melania Trump publicly called for her to be fired
Trump did things that are pathologically associated with people who act like dictators and tyrants, Mr Scaramucci said. Just go down the list. What did he do? Number one, he started to viciously attack the press. Number two, he started to throw out anybody in his path in the administration that he thought was one syllable off of what he thought, so there couldnt be anything but uniform thinking. Everybody had to be like a Politburo, unanimous voting around him. And then the last thing hes doing thats also a very important part of that change is that he has dialled up the anger and racist license in the country. Hes gone full tribal.
The greatness of America rests on the ability to unify people that are not from the same tribe, not from the same culture, not from the same religious perspective. The best leaders understand that they need to be a beacon, a metaphorical glue to help keep the country together. Truman said he was the president of all people. Trump is not about that. This is one of the many reasons why hes so dangerous because Trump is disavowing the higher aspirations, the higher ideals, of what the country should be.
Mr Scaramuccis fragments on Trumps America are autobiographical. His highly publicized estrangement from President Trump, to which Bill Maher was privy, made quite the splash on the news cycle. Still, there are moments in his volatile relationship with Trump, that the former White House Communication director has still not given away.
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I am just gonna say something to you now that Ive never said to anybody, he began. Im not saying it is a bombshell or anything, but Ive never said this to anybody. The last time I talked to President Trump was Easter Sunday of last year. And he was a little miffed at me for the article that I wrote in The Hill about the press not being the enemy of the people. I explained why the press is not the enemy of people and I said to him: I think youre making a mistake. Youre very popular with your base, but moderates do not like the attack on the press nor the independents. Trumps response, Ive never told this to anybody, was I am going to worry about my base and everything else will take care of itself. Thats a direct quote, Im gonna worry about the base and everything else will take care of itself.
Mr Scaramucci paused.
Trumps got great political instincts, which led him to be president. The question is, are these instincts malevolent? Are they well-intended or are they with bad intentions? Thats the question.
The former White House Communications Director has his fair share of misgivings about Mr Trump.
The biggest one is that Trump is providing a license for anger and a license for division in the country, he said. So, that is by far my biggest misgiving, because if he ruptures the country, you know, you could have too big of a split in the country. You dont want, in this era of the 21st century, to split the country. The second thing is that, despite the economy doing well, Trump has mishandled the economy. And he has mishandled the trade situation.
Whether the effects of Trumps economy to the world are of any concern to his voters, whose deeply seated grievances a real estate developer from Queens was able to speak to, is yet to be seen. Trump has been consistent with America First. Contrary to any other respectable or solitary opinions, the MAGA base is likely to respond with the hottest zeal: Its America First, we do not care about any of those countries.
I dont think anyones ever laid out and explained what Trumps world view is. Trump is intellectually vacuous. He is not someone who can explain a world view. But Trump knows it when he sees it, and then, when it is presented to him, he acts on it. And let me tell you what his world view is. I really believe this. Trump wants to take America back to the 1890s where America was producing 98 per cent of everything it was consuming or needed. So, this is a manufacturing America. This is a production-based, less service-oriented America. Trump would literally like to wall off America from the rest of the world. What Trump is doing is a literal walling off, and its physical walling off, like, actually creating a wall.
Anthony Scaramucci calls Trump a lawless criminal: If he is removed it would be like Fourth of July
While the great American debate about the President is a normative one, whats missing in the public conversation is the explanatory account about the underlying logic of his presidency. Why is President Trump doing what hes doing?
Why is he like that? Well, theres inherent racism in that, and theres an inherent distrust in others. And then, the last reason why hes like that is that he thinks that we were a better, stronger America when we had more manufacturing versus where we are now. We manufacture about 15 per cent of what were actually consuming today. So, you know, were buying our cars and our televisions and were buying our telephones and things like that from other countries. A lot of that stuff was made in America in the 40s and 50s. The last thing about Trumps world view, which I think is important, you know, you give him another five years, hell be able to continue to push that world view. And you know, the United States is a very rich, well-endowed country from its natural resources, etc. The United States could probably pull off what Trump would want: this America first, America alone sort of thing. But it would cripple the rest of the world. It would cripple the rest of the world and would put the rest of the world in an economic recession and or poverty. That, I think is a disaster.
Mr Scaramucci once was Trumps supporter and staunch defender. That was a period of their lives when they embarked together to walk through the wall of the political-power establishment for better or for worse. Publicity was astounding. The America of many contradictions was about to unfold. It was a historical moment Mr Scaramucci walked into without quite knowing whether hes gonna end up in a safe harbour or a political shipwreck.
I worked for him. I believed, incorrectly, that he was going to do the right thing. Theres a moment in our history right now. Where theres an opportunity for a transformative leader to knit back the tribes. Theres a moment right now where, if white, blue-collar workers have not felt [that they have received] appropriate advocacy, theres a moment to help them, while, at the same time, not ignoring the other issues that are being faced in the US. I thought that Trump was going to do that because he wasnt a politician. I thought that he would be capable of doing that. But you know, ultimately, theres a disease called power. And its a heavy narcotic and once you start imbibing it, you start to act like the other politicians. He got totally sucked into that.
I was out supporting him for two years. I spent two years of my life trying to help the guy. But for me, the red line, the absolute red light for me, was when he went after those four Congresswomen. And it became impossible. He was moving the goalposts so much for his supporters that it became impossible to support him because you cant be from an immigrant family like I am, where your grandparents were told to go back to the country that they originally came from. You cant go back to the country that you originally came from.So, now you have to make a decision. Its less about a profile in courage, frankly, it is more about making a better decision of who you are as a person, and who you are as a father, who you are as a son and a grandson. Im not going to disavow my entire familys history and roots and my integrity by pretending what Trump said was not racist.
Urging everyone to re-examine their relationship and role they played in the making of Trump, Mr Scaramucci began talking about behind-the-scenes of Trumps presidency.
There are Fox news anchors. Theres Rudy Giuliani and there are others. They will always come down to the following moral equivocation, theyll say, well, hes good for the economy. Or whats the alternative? We cant have socialism. Lets give him a license for anger, a license for impunity, a license for tribal division, because the alternatives are worse than him. But I dont think like that. I think, forget about the alternatives. This guy is not the right guy to be running the office of the presidency. So lets figure out a way to find somebody that could be that person, man or woman that has a different skillset at different traits than this person in terms of humanity. In terms of unity and also respect.
Would Trump stop at anything morally, to get himself re-elected? Thats the question. And the answer to that is no. Of course not. So, therefore, if you want to stay with Trump, youre going to have to test your own morality. And hes going to push you in a direction that hes willing to go in.
China, if youre listening, investigate Joe Biden. Russia, if youre listening, investigate Hillary Clinton. President Zelensky, I am holding back this money until you put out a statement trying to cripple Joe Biden. That, to him, was the perceived threat at that moment. Trumps outside the bounds of any normal behaviour that is principle-centered or anchored to any morals. And this is the tragedy of guys like John Kelly or HR McMaster, because, you know, knowing them, they wanted to serve. They were not interested in power. You can say whatever you want about me, I wanted to serve. I grew up in a blue-collar neighbourhood. I am the product of the American dream. I wanted to serve. But I didnt want to serve something twisted. But I did not know, back then. So as it becomes twisted, it becomes more twisted, youre in this dilemma. Youre in this knot with the twisting. So, if youre a John Kelly or an HR McMaster or Jim Mattis, you are like: OK, I want to help the country or try in some way to save the country from this crazy person, but then, in other ways, I dont want to be overly tarred by this man.
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Donald Trump celebrity president: A decade in two halves
1/29
Trump styles his ‘You’re fired!’ pose in his Trump Tower office in June 2012. At the time he was known as a reality TV star on The Apprentice
2/29
He was also well known as the patron of the Miss Universe competition
3/29
Early signs of Trump’s ambition for the presidency can be found everywhere. Not least in his 2011 book ‘Time to get tough: Making America #1 again’
4/29
Trump with Piers Morgan in November 2010. Piers Morgan has long held that he and Trump are good friends
5/29
Trump appeared on Fox & Friends, his favourite show, in August 2011
6/29
Trump considered running in the 2012 election, where he would have faced Barack Obama. He is speaking here at an event for a Republican women’s group
7/29
Trump was subject to a Comedy Central roast in 2011. He is pictured here being roasted by rapper Snoop Dogg
8/29
Given that this Trump store is in the lobby of Trump Tower, it can be said that Trump sells merchandise of himself out of his own home
9/29
Trump held meetings with prominent Republicans when considering his 2012 bid. He is pictured here with Alaska governor Sarah Palin
10/29
He didn’t end up running in 2012 afterall, instead endorsing Republican candidate Mitt Romney
11/29
Trump’s golf course in Aberdeen proved controversial in 2012 when he began lobbying the Scottish government against wind power in order that they wouldn’t install turbines off the shore by his new course
12/29
He even gave evidence to a Scottish parliamentary committee discouraging wind energy
13/29
He still found time for a round of course
14/29
On 16 June 2015, Trump announced that he would run for the presidency of the United States in the 2016 election as a Republican
15/29
His campaign was divisive, courting controversy wherever he went. Ultimately he was declared the Republican candidate in June 2016
16/29
Trump took part in the TV debate against opponent Hillary Clinton on 9 October
17/29
Trump and wife Melania vote in the presidential election on 8 November 2016
18/29
Hillary Clinton conceded defeat at 2:50am on 9 November and president-elect Trump swiftly delivered his victory speech to a crowd of supporters
19/29
News coverage around the world focused on the huge political upset that Trump’s victory spelled
20/29
Trump met with president Obama to discusss transition planning on 10 November.
21/29
Donald Trump and Nigel Farage pose in the golden elevator at Trump Tower on 12 November 2016. Farage was the first British politician to meet with Trump after the election
22/29
The inauguration of Donald Trump took place on 20 January 2017. Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer boasted that the crowd was the ‘largest ever’ to witness an inauguration, a claim that was proved not to be true
23/29
In his first 100 days as leader, Trump signed 24 executve orders, the most of any president
24/29
One of Trump’s most memorable election pledges was to build a wall between the US and Mexico. He is standing here in front of a prototype for a section of the wall
25/29
Trump’s meetings with other world leaders have provided no short supply of photo opportunities
26/29
Trump was welcomed to the UK by the Queen and a state banquet was held at Buckingham Palace in his honour
27/29
Not everyone welcomed the president. Mass protests were held in London throughout his visits in both 2018 and 2019
28/29
One of the most significant meetings Trump has held with another leader was with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. In June 2019, Trump became the first sitting president to set foot in North Korea
29/29
2020 will see president Trump fight for a second term in office, who knows what the next decade will bring?
1/29
Trump styles his ‘You’re fired!’ pose in his Trump Tower office in June 2012. At the time he was known as a reality TV star on The Apprentice
2/29
He was also well known as the patron of the Miss Universe competition
3/29
Early signs of Trump’s ambition for the presidency can be found everywhere. Not least in his 2011 book ‘Time to get tough: Making America #1 again’
4/29
Trump with Piers Morgan in November 2010. Piers Morgan has long held that he and Trump are good friends
5/29
Trump appeared on Fox & Friends, his favourite show, in August 2011
6/29
Trump considered running in the 2012 election, where he would have faced Barack Obama. He is speaking here at an event for a Republican women’s group
7/29
Trump was subject to a Comedy Central roast in 2011. He is pictured here being roasted by rapper Snoop Dogg
8/29
Given that this Trump store is in the lobby of Trump Tower, it can be said that Trump sells merchandise of himself out of his own home
9/29
Trump held meetings with prominent Republicans when considering his 2012 bid. He is pictured here with Alaska governor Sarah Palin
10/29
He didn’t end up running in 2012 afterall, instead endorsing Republican candidate Mitt Romney
11/29
Trump’s golf course in Aberdeen proved controversial in 2012 when he began lobbying the Scottish government against wind power in order that they wouldn’t install turbines off the shore by his new course
12/29
He even gave evidence to a Scottish parliamentary committee discouraging wind energy
13/29
He still found time for a round of course
14/29
On 16 June 2015, Trump announced that he would run for the presidency of the United States in the 2016 election as a Republican
15/29
His campaign was divisive, courting controversy wherever he went. Ultimately he was declared the Republican candidate in June 2016
16/29
Trump took part in the TV debate against opponent Hillary Clinton on 9 October
17/29
Trump and wife Melania vote in the presidential election on 8 November 2016
18/29
Hillary Clinton conceded defeat at 2:50am on 9 November and president-elect Trump swiftly delivered his victory speech to a crowd of supporters
19/29
News coverage around the world focused on the huge political upset that Trump’s victory spelled
20/29
Trump met with president Obama to discusss transition planning on 10 November.
21/29
Donald Trump and Nigel Farage pose in the golden elevator at Trump Tower on 12 November 2016. Farage was the first British politician to meet with Trump after the election
22/29
The inauguration of Donald Trump took place on 20 January 2017. Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer boasted that the crowd was the ‘largest ever’ to witness an inauguration, a claim that was proved not to be true
23/29
In his first 100 days as leader, Trump signed 24 executve orders, the most of any president
24/29
One of Trump’s most memorable election pledges was to build a wall between the US and Mexico. He is standing here in front of a prototype for a section of the wall
25/29
Trump’s meetings with other world leaders have provided no short supply of photo opportunities
26/29
Trump was welcomed to the UK by the Queen and a state banquet was held at Buckingham Palace in his honour
27/29
Not everyone welcomed the president. Mass protests were held in London throughout his visits in both 2018 and 2019
28/29
One of the most significant meetings Trump has held with another leader was with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. In June 2019, Trump became the first sitting president to set foot in North Korea
29/29
2020 will see president Trump fight for a second term in office, who knows what the next decade will bring?
Mr Scaramuccis standing as a representative of Trumps unapologetic critics, makes one wonder about the foreclosure of dissent within the Republican party. Even those like Lindsey Graham, who were once known for not sparing Trump a critique, have become proud members of his squad of defenders. Can it be that people are afraid to speak up and go against the party grain?
I think theres a lot of that. Trump is intimidating. Hes also now signalling that hes gonna go after people using the Justice Department. And these are things that police states do. I know more than one business executive who says this guys terrible, but I would never speak up about it because I dont want to be targeted by him. Trump is the first modern president that has decided hes going to rule the country as opposed to serving the people. Remember the quote from Voltaire: tell me who I cannot criticise, and I can tell you who runs the state. Trump is now telling people that they cannot criticise him. Foreclosure of dissent, thats what he wants to impose. And so thats on that list. Look at what he is doing to the members of the press and members of the political opposition.
Mr Scaramucci feels very much at home with his decision to break away from Trump. What would he tell him, I enquired if the president called him today?
Well, I mean, look, its personal for me. Forget everything else: the fact that I gave him an obscene amount of money for his campaign, the inauguration, etc. Three years of my life, hundreds of hours of media advocacy to try to help him. And then, were in a disagreement over the Congresswomen and he goes to attack my wife from the presidential Twitter feed? You cant do that. Thats where I would start the conversation. So if he called me I would probably lead the conversation by letting him know that Im not Ted Cruz.
A White House official described Mr Scaramuccis charges as baseless, but declined to comment further.