Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles the Trump Administration

Stephen Colbert, Anthony Scaramucci spar over Trump, Bannon, and white supremacists in the White House

Stephen Colbert introduced his guest on Monday's Late Show, Anthony Scaramucci, as the "shortest-tenured communications director in White House history," and Jon Batiste welcomed him onstage with Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," and things got off to an unusual start, with Scaramucci jokingly threatening to murder Colbert's writers, Game of Thrones-style. "I promised you no gotcha questions," Colbert began, "but I'm gonna lead with one: Nazis, good or bad?" "Super bad," Scaramucci said, and they turned to Trump's decision not to criticize white supremacists until Monday.

Scaramucci said Trump should have denounced them Saturday, but insisted he's "a compassionate person," suggested Trump did not initially condemn the Nazis because the media expected him to, and said Trump deserved some credit for doing it on Monday. "Two days later?" Colbert asked. "Does he order his spine on Amazon Prime?"

Colbert asked him what it was like inside the White House, because "from the outside, it looks like a dumpster fire." "It's a tough place, there is a lot of infighting," Scaramucci said. "Whatever you think about me, I was pretty open about how I felt about people," he added drily, but the other Trump aides would go behind your back or leak to the press for political gain. Colbert got him to open up a bit about his tense relationship with former chief of staff, Reince Preibus, and another aide Scaramucci thinks is a leaker, Stephen Bannon. He declined to speculate if Bannon was about to get sacked, but did say, "if it was up to me, he would be gone." They ended with a discussion of his most infamous quote about Bannon.

"Are there elements of white supremacy within the White House right now?" Colbert asked after the break. "Is Steve Bannon a white supremacist?" "I don't think he's a white supremacist, although I've never asked him," Scaramucci said. "What I don't like, though, is the toleration of it." Colbert asked if Scaramucci felt "burned or backstabbed" by his short stint in the White House, and he said no. "Well, let me put it this way," he added. "When you take a job like that, Stephen, you know that your expiration date is coming. I didn't think I was going to last too long, but I thought that I would last longer than, like, a carton of milk." "You were like a bag of raw shrimp," Colbert suggested. Peter Weber