We see that the new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci has claimed his first high-profile victim. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus has been fired and replaced by the head of Homeland Security John Kelly. If you are keeping score at home, others who have departed within six months include the national security adviser Michael Flynn, deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh, press secretary Sean Spicer, and press aide Michael Short. The scale of this kind of turnover does not happen by chance. It happens because of rot at the very top.
In many ways, Kelly is a curious choice and it is even more curious that he accepted. He is a former general in the marine corps and usually one would say that he has been selected to bring order to the chaos that characterizes the current administration. But Trump and Scaramucci are the main people who shoot from the hip and sow confusion. How will Kelly deal with people who are erratic when he has no power over them and is indeed subordinate to them? It seems an inherently unstable situation to me.
Stephen Colbert goes to town interpreting all the things that Scaramucci has said in just his first week in the position.
Meanwhile, Matt Taibbi has started the death watch for Scaramucci’s job, listing all the things that make him likely to be fired, including his past statements criticizing Trump and Trump’s positions.
In the space of a week, Trump’s new press expert demonstrated that he a) didn’t know how to hold off-the-record conversations b) didn’t understand that cameras and microphones keep rolling even when the red light is off and c) doesn’t bother to check the other public statements made by administration officials before he makes statements of his own. An alien crashed on earth and given a two-minute tutorial on dealing with reporters would have done a better job.
On the other hand, it sort of worked! The least successful Trump administration officials to date have been the ones who have labored in public to act like real presidential aides. Scaramucci on the other hand is like Trump himself: ridiculous, ham-brained, unapologetic, disdainful of Washington pieties, and bursting with reasonless confidence.
Scaramucci has been hovering around the Trump administration for a while, but until now didn’t have a prominent role. The reason for that is hilarious: he was considered too ridiculous and uncouth for public service by the other swamp-monster members of the Trump administration.
He supposedly got the White House post for the most important reason that exists in the Trump administration: the president likes the way he looks on TV.
Making Scaramucci Communications Director because he dresses like the owner of a Lamborghini dealership fit like a glove with the Trump ethos.
Bets are now being taken as to how long Scaramucci will last. But betting on the Trump administration is a mug’s game. The only sure thing is that it will act venally.