The Trump White House has turned into a daily soap opera, with the latest episode involving tensions between Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. Who will win in this latest White House soap opera?
Here are five things you need to know about the fight between Scaramucci and Priebus.
1. The feud came to light with a tweet from Scaramucci implying that Priebus had leaked his financial disclosures. “In light of the leak of my financial disclosure info which is a felony. I will be contacting @FBI and the @TheJusticeDept #swamp @Reince45,” Scaramucci wrote in a since-deleted tweet. People naturally took this to mean that Scaramucci was blaming Priebus for the leaks. Scaramucci tweeted later that he was simply trying to give “public notice to leakers that all Sr Adm officials are helping to end illegal leaks.”
Scaramucci later said in a statement, “When I put out a tweet and I put Reince’s name in a tweet, they all make the assumption that it’s him because journalists know who the leakers are. So if Reince wants to explain he’s not a leaker, let him do that.”
2. Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker says that Scaramucci trashed Priebus to him and was confident that he would step down soon. Here’s the relevant portion of Lizza’s piece, after Scaramucci grew agitated that Lizza had heard about his dinner with Donald and Melania Trump, Fox News executive Bill Shine and Sean Hannity:
I asked him why it was so important for the dinner to be kept a secret. Surely, I said, it would become public at some point. “I’ve asked people not to leak things for a period of time and give me a honeymoon period,” he said. “They won’t do it.” He was getting more and more worked up, and he eventually convinced himself that Priebus was my source.
“They’ll all be fired by me,” he said. “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus — if you want to leak something — he’ll be asked to resign very shortly.” The issue, he said, was that he believed Priebus had been worried about the dinner because he hadn’t been invited. “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said. He channelled Priebus as he spoke: “ ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ” (Priebus did not respond to a request for comment.)
That would give some serious credence to this tweet:
3. The Scaramucci-Priebus feud stems from Priebus being involved in blocking Scaramucci from a White House job early on in the Trump administration. According to Time, Priebus was concerned that Scaramucci “would leak to reporters with whom he has relationships through his role in GOP finance circles.” Unsurprisingly, Priebus was among the people opposed to Scaramucci being brought on as the White House communications director.
4. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner may have brought Scaramucci on board for the specific purpose of firing Priebus.
This would be in line with earlier reports about how Ivanka and her husband have been among the people pushing for Trump to fire Priebus. The two were also among those who had pushed for Trump to hire Scaramucci for the position of communications director over the objections of Priebus.
5. Priebus may have lost this fight.
In fact, according to The Daily Beast, Trump has no problem with Scaramucci going after Priebus, yet he “has no interest in personally firing Priebus at this time, preferring to delegate abuse of his own chief of staff — who Trump has been frustrated with for months — to his new comms czar.”