Former White House communications director Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciScaramucci: ‘Pretty obvious’ I don’t support Trump’s reelection bid Scaramucci: GOP may need to replace Trump for 2020 Scaramucci fires back at Trump: He will turn ‘on everyone’ and then ‘entire country’ MORE has broken forcefully with President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris campaigns off of NRA attack Help wanted: American ambassador in Moscow Goldman Sachs CEO dismisses ‘impending economic crisis’ amid rising recession fears MORE, engaging in a Twitter feud with his former boss and suggesting Republicans should consider a change to the top of their ticket ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
It’s a remarkable divorce between Trump and an associate who was once one of his foremost public allies, but follows a familiar pattern of former aides stoking the anger of a president who puts a premium on loyalty.
“[Trump] requires loyalty, but it’s a one-way street,” said Omarosa Manigault NewmanOmarosa Onee Manigault NewmanPress: The new Southern Strategy Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank On The Money: Powell asserts Fed’s independence amid new Trump attacks | House approves 3 billion spending package | CBO projects ‘unprecedented’ debt levels by 2049 | Democrats struggle with Trump tax law provision MORE, one former White House aide who has become a critic of the president. “It’s not a two-way street. So he wants the people around him to be loyal to him, but he does not extend the same loyalty to others.”
Trump and his former communications director, nicknamed “The Mooch,” have traded barbs over the last 72 hours, with Scaramucci saying the president has “gone off the rails” and Trump ripping his former employee as a bitter opportunist.
“To those asking, ‘What took so long?’ You’re right,” Scaramucci tweeted Monday. “I tried to see best in @realDonaldTrump based on private interactions and select policy alignment. But his increasingly divisive rhetoric — and damage it’s doing to fabric of our society — outweighs any short-term economic gain.”
The former White House aide told CNN in a Monday morning interview that he remains a Republican but that he’s “neutral” on Trump and is no longer actively supporting his reelection bid.
“The racially charged comments, the divisive tweeting, the nonsense coming from the president is not helping the country,” Scaramucci said on “New Day.”
Scaramucci accused the president of inciting hate and fracturing institutions and suggested the GOP may need to consider nominating someone else for 2020. He predicted other Republicans might begin to speak out if Trump’s divisive rhetoric continues, claiming GOP officials have raised concerns privately.
But there is little evidence to suggest that Scaramucci represents a majority point of view among Republicans. Trump has an 89 percent approval rating within his own party, according to a recent Gallup survey, and the president and his allies on Monday dismissed the former aide as someone leveraging his brief White House tenure into significant air time.
“He worked at the White House for less than 2 weeks and is certainly no expert on this President,” White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamTrump tells advisers Omar and Tlaib shouldn’t be allowed to enter Israel: report No still-hospitalized victims of El Paso shooting met with Trump: report Trump slams Ohio Democrats after visit to Dayton hospital MORE said in a statement. “This is all so self-serving on his part and the media plays right into it. It’s embarrassing to watch.”
Trump tweeted that Scaramucci “had nothing to do with my Election Victory” and claimed the former aide was upset by his inability to get another job in the administration.
Scaramucci shot back at Trump’s “very weak troll” and decried him as a bully.
“Many have called and are willing to work on a necessary replacement,” he tweeted. “Time to call in a good relief pitcher. @potus is lost.”
Scaramucci did not respond to a request for an interview through a spokesperson.
Scaramucci served as White House communications director for 11 days in 2017 before he was fired for making profane comments about his colleagues to a reporter.
Despite his brief tenure, he has remained one of the most visible former Trump administration officials. Scaramucci appears regularly on cable news, where until recently he often defended Trump’s policies and rhetoric. He published a book last year titled “Trump, the Blue-Collar President” that was complimentary of the president’s ability to connect with voters.
But Scaramucci has shifted his tone in recent weeks. He labeled Trump’s tweets telling four progressive congresswomen of color to “go back” where they came from “racist and unacceptable.” And the former aide called it a “catastrophe” that Trump’s visits to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, last week in the wake of back-to-back mass shootings were overshadowed by the president’s tweets attacking his opponents.
“Anthony Scaramucci, who was quickly terminated (11 days) from a position that he was totally incapable of handling, now seems to do nothing but television as the all time expert on ‘President Trump,’” Trump tweeted Saturday.
“Anthony, who would do anything to come back in, should remember the only reason he is on TV, and it’s not for being the Mooch!” the president added.
Scaramucci escalated his criticism on Sunday night, telling Axios that he thinks the GOP may have to reconsider its support for Trump in 2020. He returned to the airwaves Monday morning to further decry the president’s behavior.
The Scaramucci-Trump spat followed a familiar script to whenever former administration officials or prominent onetime supporters have broken with the president.
After leaving her job in the West Wing, Manigault Newman described Trump as a racist and wrote in a book last year that she believes the president showed a “mental decline.”
Trump responded by calling Manigault Newman a “dog” and a “lowlife,” and the Department of Justice earlier this year filed a lawsuit alleging she breached an ethics law.
Former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonSenate braces for brawl over Trump’s spy chief Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank A brief timeline of Trump’s clashes with intelligence director Dan Coats MORE said after being fired that he felt Trump was undisciplined and was underprepared for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinHelp wanted: American ambassador in Moscow Russia: Small nuclear reactor involved in explosion that killed five scientists Ukraine rips Putin’s visit to pro-Kremlin motorcycle club in Crimea MORE. The president responded to those assessments by calling his former top diplomat “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell.”
Scaramucci on Monday said he has no regrets about his past support for Trump and credited the president with boosting the economic prospects of certain workers. But he suggested that Trump’s willingness to turn on allies shouldn’t go unchallenged.
“This gruff, intimidating, bullying nonsense, strong people have to get together and call it out for what it is,” Scaramucci told CNN. “And so that’s where I stand on this. And I tried to stay loyal to him, but you can’t be loyal to somebody that, again, is asymmetric in his loyalty.”