It was a big first week for the White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. While starting his new high-profile job, the 53-year-old managed to alienate a few of his key peers during an interview with The New Yorker, though one of those key peers has been booted from the job and swiftly replaced. That freshly minted tension is pretty well summed up by an awkward photo of Scaramucci and Reince Priebus that is making the rounds on Twitter.
On Thursday, The New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza published a profanity-laced conversation with Scaramucci in which the communications director directly called out Priebus and Steve Bannon with a few choice words.
"Reince is a f*cking paranoid schizophrenic," Scaramucci told Lizza. He also said, ""I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock. I’m not trying to build my own brand off the f*cking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country."
According to the article, Scaramucci called the reporter on Thursday demanding sources for a tweet he had posted the night before. Lizza had written, "Scoop: Trump is dining tonight w/Sean Hannnity, Bill Shine (former Fox News executive), & Anthony Scaramucci, per to 2 knowledgeable sources."
When Lizza declined to give up his sources to Scaramucci, the communications director threatened to fire his whole staff in protest, and specifically said he suspected Priebus and Bannon as the leaks. During the phone call, Scaramucci also told the reporter that Priebus blocked him from a White House position for six months.
Given this context, the tension between Priebus and Scaramucci was perfectly summed up in an awkward photo taken by T.J. Kirkpatrick for The Wall Street Journal.
This photo has all of the drama neatly stored in one place. There's the forced workplace where they're required to interact, there's the silent tension of two men actively talking behind each other's backs. But, perhaps the best part of the photo is their active avoidance of the couch.
Unsurprisingly, people on Twitter took to making their own edits on the photo.
Kirkpatrick, the photographer of the viral photo, told The Wall Street Journal he snapped the moment at the end of a meeting between Trump and reporters on Tuesday.
"I was waiting outside the Oval Office for most of the interview, they allowed me in for just the last couple minutes," Kirkpatrick said.
"It seemed important to show the two of them in the Oval Office, and at the moment I shot the series of photos of them they happened to look toward each other," Kirkpatrick told WSJ.
Given the popularity of the photo, and how perfectly it paints the tension between the men, it seems the internet agrees that this moment was indeed important.