Did Steve Bannon Play A Role In Getting Anthony Scaramucci Fired?
The White House dropped bombshell news on Monday that newly-appointed White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci would be leaving his post after just 10 days on the job. Though the White House's statement listed official reasons for his being fired, there's suspicion that Scaramucci's comments about Steve Bannon may have played a role in the decision.
The White House Press Office released an official statement claiming Scaramucci wanted to give new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly a "clean slate":
Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director. Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best.
Bannon has kept a low profile in recent months, as Politico reported last week, perhaps trying to stay in the good graces of the president by not stealing headlines or becoming the butt of jokes. In fact, Scaramucci's outlandish and NSFW comments to the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza about the president's advisor were the first time Bannon's name had come up in quite some time. In the interview, Scaramucci supposedly said of Bannon:
I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own c*ck. I’m not trying to build my own brand off the f*cking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.
Notably, Bannon declined to comment to The New Yorker on Scaramucci's words and four days later, the Mooch was fired.
In a presser a week before his firing, despite the New Yorker interview, Scaramucci did say that he had a lot of love for Bannon and alluded to their potential to butt heads by citing their "strong personalities." However, he ultimately concluded that they were both committed to "the team" and supporting the president. Per his comments:
I think [Bannon is] one of the smartest people I know. I think he was instrumental in helping us win the election. He's got a strong personality, I have a strong personality ... I have enormous respect for Steve Bannon.
However, that respect wasn't really communicated in the now infamous New Yorker interview. And it appears that the clash of their personalities would never really get to be an issue. As Axios noted, Bannon is reportedly on good terms with Trump's new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, whose "blank slate" is credited with Scaramucci's exit. Still, it's unclear whether Bannon had any proven influence in the staffing changes.
While it's been said that it was Kelly's intention, as CBS News White House reporter Jackie Alemany reported, to have less Game of Thrones and more order through this ousting of Scaramucci, it's not entirely clear that Trumpland's most infamous player — famously called "President Bannon" and a "puppeteer" — wasn't still playing his long game.