Anthony Scaramucci placed the phone call that ended his career late at night; he reached Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker's Washington correspondent, at home. During their conversation, parts of which are available here, on The New Yorker Radio Hour, for the first time, Scaramucci pressed Lizza on his source for a tweet about a dinner Trump attended. Scaramucci, who had just been installed as the White House communications director, threatened to fire his entire staff in order to punish the leaker and accused Reince Priebus, whom he called "a paranoid schizophrenic," of leaking his financial information. Priebus was fired within two days, but Scaramucci's triumph was short-lived: the incoming chief of staff John Kelly immediately ousted him.
In this segment, Ryan Lizza and David Remnick listen to excerpts from the call and discuss what they suggest about the Trump Administration. While Scaramucci's behavior and language were shocking even by Trump standards, Lizza believes that his appointment followed a familiar pattern. "So many politicians believe when they're failing, they believe that the real problem is just a communications strategy, that if only the American public heard and saw what the most loyal supporters saw in the president, everything would be solved," Lizza says. "'Let Trump be Trump' is the cliche, right? That was Scaramucci's communications strategy, and I think that's how he helped convince the President that he should take over the communications shop, even though he had no experience doing this."
While Kelly may rein in some of the personalities and the warring factions in the Administration, Lizza doesn't believe staffing is the issue. "What's dysfunctional about Trumpworld all stems from Donald Trump," he says.
Photograph by Justin Lane/Pool via Bloomberg