Trump Picks Anthony Scaramucci As His New Communications Director

by Priscilla Totiyapungprasert
Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Reports came in Thursday night that Trump is expected to name Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House communications director. The Wall Street financier would fill the vacancy left after media entrepreneur Mike Dubke resigned from the position in May.

Scaramucci, a hedge fund industry executive, has been working since June in the Trump administration as the chief strategy officer of Export-Import Bank, the official export credit agency of the U.S. federal government. He initially struggled to land a White House job because his business dealings in the hedge fund industry created a conflict of interest. To detangle himself from his conflicts of interest, the financier recently sold his stake in his hedge fund SkyBridge Capital, the Washington Examiner reported.

Prior to joining the Trump administration, Scaramucci was known as a splashy Republican donor on the Wall Street scene. Nicknamed "The Mooch," the hedge fund manager made a name for himself networking with the super rich and snatching the spotlight in self-promotional moves, such as dropping $100,000 to place his firm's logo in an Oliver Stone film and hosting TV show Wall Street Week. Scaramuccio courted both wealthy investors and celebrities for the Republican Party, hosting glitzy events like his SkyBridge Alternatives conference in Las Vegas. Scaramucci, who ran in the same political circles as Paul Ryan and Karl Rove, bragged he was one of the top fundraisers for Mitt Romney in the candidate's 2012 bid for presidency.

He backed Trump in the general election, but during the primaries raised money for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

The Export-Import Bank strategist more recently made headlines in June related to the Trump-Russia investigation. CNN was forced to retract a story about Scaramucci after the news agency claimed he had met with a Russian investor prior to Trump's inauguration. At the time of the supposed meeting, Scaramucci served as a Trump adviser on the presidential transition team. He cited the false Russian link as an example of "the politics of personal destruction" happening in Washington, but said the reaction to the story retraction had been overblown. One of most vocal critics blasting the CNN mistake was Fox News personality Sean Hannity, a far-right commentator and Scaramucci's friend. Scaramucci has appeared on Fox News on multiple occasions.

As White House director of communications, Scaramucci will take the torch from White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who had taken over the role after Dubke's resignation. Trump has reportedly complained about his communications team, praising Spicer in public while in private, supposedly expressing disappointment in Spicer's blustery press briefings. Following the public backlash from firing FBI Director James Comey and pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, the president most likely hopes that PR star Scaramucci can pull Trump up from his low approval ratings.