President Trump felt that briefly employed White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci's colorful comments to The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza "were inappropriate for a person in that position," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday, after new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had fired Scaramucci with Trump's backing. But Trump did not always feel that way, according to several accounts of Scaramucci's short but dramatic tenure at the White House.
Kelly had refused to even entertain keeping Scaramucci, and one of his first acts after being sworn in was firing the new White House communications director, who came into work unsure what to expect, Politico reports. Scaramucci's downfall began when he accused Kelly's predecessor, Reince Priebus, of leaking his public financial disclosure information and appeared to threaten him with an FBI investigation, then elevated when he called Lizza to demand he name a source, then used vulgar terms to criticize Priebus and White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon.
"At first, Trump didn't show anger about the comments, telling others privately that he agreed with some of Scaramucci's sentiments," Politico reports, citing interviews with more than a half-dozen administration officials and others close to the White House. But "Trump, soaking in several days of negative news coverage about his administration in turmoil, began to realize the comments were a bigger deal than he'd initially believed."
The New York Times has more details:
Mr. Trump was initially pleased by Mr. Scaramucci's harsh remarks, directed at Mr. Priebus as well as Mr. Bannon. But that view seemed to change as people around Mr. Trump told him that Mr. Scaramucci's over-the-top performances were not well received. In addition, Mr. Scaramucci seemed to be, at least for the moment, overshadowing him — a fact that Breitbart News, which Mr. Bannon used to run, pointed out in a headline describing Mr. Trump as second fiddle to his communications director. [The New York Times]
Bannon and Priebus had opposed Scaramucci's hire, "though Priebus tried to tell others after the fact that he loved Scaramucci," Politico reports. Trump advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, his daughter and son-in-law, respectively, reportedly backed the Scaramucci hire as a way to oust Priebus, but soured on him after his New Yorker rant. You can read more at Politico and The New York Times.