Speed Reads


Scaramucci attacks The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza as 'the Linda Tripp of 2017,' doesn't think through analogy

If Stephen Colbert finds himself inexplicably short of questions for short-tenured White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci next week, he can always ask him about this tweet he sent out on Wednesday night, a salvo aimed at The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza.

Lizza fielded a late-night phone call from Scaramucci during his 10-day White House stint, recorded it, and printed some colorful and often NSFW highlights in The New Yorker. Scaramucci said on Twitter that Lizza did not ask permission to record the call — that would be legal in both New York and Washington, D.C., which both have one-party consent laws, and the conversation wasn't off-the-record. The phone call plausibly contributed mightily to Scaramucci's firing.

Linda Tripp was a central figure in the Bill Clinton Whitewater scandal, for those of you with mercifully hazy memories of the late 1990s. Her secretly recorded calls with Monica Lewinsky revealed her sexual relationship with the president, leading to Clinton's impeachment trial. The Mooch's analogy has a few problems, as Jonathan Chait points out.

Then there's this question: If Lizza is Tripp, who does that make Scaramucci?

And presumably, President Trump is Clinton in this analogy. Which, given the nature of the Clinton-Lewinsky relationship and Scaramucci's frequently professed "love" for Trump, is a little awkward. Also, considering how Clinton's special-prosecutor investigation ended, the Mooch maybe should have thought this one through a bit more before hitting "Tweet."