Former Whitehouse Director Of Communications Anthony ScaramucciHighlights from The Pat Kenny Show
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- 31 Aug 2020
Pat was joined on the show by former Whitehouse Director Of Communications Anthony Scaramucci and he gave his thoughts on Donald Trump, the upcoming election and what is the best way forward for the USA.
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That Pat Kenny show on Newstalk. When my next guest was the White House director of communications, he had nothing but praise for his president, Donald Trump.
The president has really good karma and the world turns back to him. He's genuinely a wonderful human being. And I think it's that members of Congress get to know him better and get comfortable with him. They're going to let him lead them to the right things for the American people.
But over time, his views have changed. And now he's openly backing the Democrats candidate, Joe Biden, and believes there are plenty of other Republicans like him out there who've made the same switch.
He's going to get annihilated. I mean, he's he is going to get annihilated. He's going to get annihilated in a way that I think will actually be humiliating, because this is an instinctual thing. This is about a feeling. It is. People vote for the presidency based on how the presidency makes them feel. And so he has a very small minority of the people that are still with him. You're seeing lots of swaths of people in the Republican Party, myself included.
Lincoln Project Republicans are voting for Joe Biden, former White House director of communications Anthony Scaramucci. A very good morning to you.
Good morning, Chris.
Now, you voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and you became his director of communications for a short time. And now you're going to vote for Joe Biden. Will you tell us about that journey?
Well, you know, listen, it's quite an odyssey. I mean, excuse me. I'm a lifelong Republican, voted mostly Republican my entire life. And it pains me that we're in a situation like this. But if you just take a look at what was going on last night at the Republican convention, he is breaking all of the societal norms related to our government, including using the White House as a campaign platform or a stage setting for his agenda.
And so I can give you a whole list of different things. But the main things are the disavowal of the democratic norms, the breaking of laws which he was impeached for. And the third thing, which I think is the most consequential one, he has made the country as a result of his decisions and policies, weaker, poorer, and he's made the country sicker. That combination of stuff, I think is enough for any normal or rational person to vote against President Trump.
And yet there doesn't seem to be any diminution in the attitude of his base towards him. He's still 40 percent or thereabouts.
Well, yeah, if you study demagoguery, you you know that demagogues can hold support for very long periods of time. If you go to Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, 62 million people dead, the entire country wiped out. He had a 39 percent approval rating mid-April of 1945 after he had committed suicide. So I'm not super surprised by that. I am surprised by responsible people in the media. And responsible people in his cabinet and responsible people who, you know, know better to be supporting him and then what you find with those people is they always have an equivocation that's related to either their self-interest or their power preservation, and it's less of related to patriotism.
You knew him back in the day in Manhattan as a property developer and of course, television personality as well. How do you think that he has changed?
Well, I think the presidency made him more brittle. I mean, when I was on the campaign with him, even during the transition period, I think he was a little bit more open to ideas. He was, you know, want to go all the way back 20 years ago. I remember him as a charming person, Iran-Contra, a entertaining personality, if you will, life of the party, sort of a person today. There's there's a brittleness to him today.
There's a closure of his mind to ideas. And I think it's related to insecurity. At the end of the day, you find at least in business, I found this in the 32 years since I I left law school, the most insecure people are the most closed minded. And so you find him contravening to professionals in the health care industry, professionals in the military, and he'll always make the overt, blustering, overcompensating quip that he knows better than them, he's smarter than the generals, or he knows more than the epidemiologists about the disease.
covid-19 as an example. And I didn't find him doing that during the campaign or the transition or the 20 years prior when you left the White House and you didn't last there very long, did you part on good terms with Donald Trump?
I mean, did you have conversations with them after your time in the White House?
Yes, absolutely. No, listen, no, go back. You can see the videotape. I left the White House. I did something stupid which got me fired. It was a fireable offense. John Kelly fired me. I took it like a man, shook his hand, never blamed anybody for my firing. Having said that, General Kelly and I have now developed a great personal relationship, which is so I sort of think it's a silver lining to that experience.
But, you know, a week after my firing president called me, we had a nice conversation. He asked me if I was OK. I said, relax. You made me as famous as Melania and Ivanka. I didn't have to sleep with you or be your daughter, so you don't have to worry about me. He got a good chuckle out of that and we stayed in touch with each other. But, you know, when you're separating women from children and putting them in cages at the border, you're disavowing the intelligence agencies, the United States in Helsinki, in front of the Russian president.
You're calling the press, which would also include you, the enemies of the people. You know, these things you have to sort of take a step back if you're a rational person, because what he's doing is he's threatening the system by doing that. And then the last straw really for me is when he told the squad, the four congresswomen, three of which were born in the United States, one which was naturalized here as a citizen, all four democratically elected to our Congress.
He's telling them to go back to the countries that they originally came from. And so that's a racist, nativist trope. They told the Irish Americans when they came here to do that, go back, they told the Italian Americans, they told my grandmother, frankly, to go back to the country she originally came from. And that sort of an unacceptable position from the American president. And he does that frequently and regularly. And as I said to Mayor Giuliani, who I have a 30 year relationship with, I'm not going to disavow my personal integrity and my life story to support that sort of nonsense.
Now, Rudy wants to do that. He's entitled, you know, it's free. Will you do what you want? But I think it's going to reflect very poorly ten or fifteen years from now when the demagogic fever of President Trump breaks, they talk about, you know, Saint Paul on the road to Damascus under a moment of conversion.
I suspect yours was rather more gradual than St. Paul's. Oh, yeah.
No, listen, I. I was actually in full support of the guy last August 2009, the American comedian Bill Maher, I'm on his show. He does a lot of politics on that show. I'm defending the president. He asked me about the squad. I said, okay, you know, I accept that that's racist. I really wish the president wouldn't talk like that. After the show, Bill turned to me and my wife. He said, You think the president watch that show?
He's I have no idea. My wife interjected and said, well, you two bozos on television and it's live television and he's addicted to television 100 percent. He watched it. And then Bill. Said to me, well, he's going to start attacking you tomorrow on Twitter, I laughed. They said, there's no way I've defended him, raised the money, raised the money for the inaugural, raised the money for the transition last two years. Hence my firing.
I have been defending him. I've just disagree with a few things. Well, Bill said, well, he's a demagogue. You can't go seven for eight for a demagogue. You got to go 13 for 10 for a demagogue. And sure enough, the next day he started attacking me. I thought that was odd. So I'm a New Yorker. I attacked him right back. You know, I'm not going to take nonsense like that. And then he does what he's typical of doing.
He starts to go after my wife. So I don't know your listeners. Probably most of them are Catholic. I got raised Roman Catholic. Don't go after my wife. You know, I'm not Ted Cruz. So that was it. And so then, you know, I dug in and, you know, listen, you know, I'm an insignificant person. I'm not trying to overstate my significance, but we have peeled off three to five percent of the classical Republicans as a result of this nonsense.
And so, Steve Bannon, whatever you think of Steve Bannon, the the the guy smart and what did he say? He said, well, if you pull three to five percent of the Republicans away from Trump, it's over. And so we'll have to see what happens in November. But the president, if you look at his polls, he has a high floor, but he has a very tight ceiling to that floor. He's bound, range bound, 40, 43 percent of the vote.
You can't make the map work at those numbers. And so even though he's convinced his caucus that he was Ronald Reagan in 1984, he won by a landslide. He really only won by one hundred and ten thousand votes. And so people like me, data analytical, very driven on data, will be up in the white ethnic areas of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania with heavy campaigning, heavy radio, heavy television in the last two or three weeks of the election.
So we'll see what happens. But, you know, he's going to lose. He's going to lose handily. And it'll be an embarrassing, in my prediction, humiliating loss. And he will have deserve to have lost. He's wrecked our alliances, wrecked our economy, and he mishandled woefully the health care crisis in the United States. And you can't really tell lies to the American people about science. And so, you know, you can tell them big, fat lies about other things, but they they can see the science for themselves.
How many Republicans like yourself, lifelong Republicans, will actually do what for them heretofore was the unthinkable, that they will actually vote Biden, maybe even go down the ticket a bit with other Democrats?
Well, listen, there are 300 luminaries that we've gotten to sign a petition. Most of them are national security figures. We had the Republicans for Joe Biden. We have the Lincoln Project, which I am a sponsor of, and one of the people that raises money for. And we have the right side tack. And there are two or three other organizations, the Midas Touch PAC, etc., that are working together in a collaboration against the president. And so, you know, I think it's going to be more than three to five percent of the Republicans, frankly, and just will point this out to you.
There were so many norms broken last night at that convention. But let me just say this. Not one Republican luminary stood on that stage to support that man, not George W. Bush, but any of the former secretaries of state or former vice presidents and a lot of elected officials. Lynne Cheney is the most senior female in the Congress that is a Republican. She would not speak at that. And so just give you a sense for the situation, what he has done and how he has wrecked that party and converted that party into a demagogue, a personality cult known as Trump ism.
So this is the biggest schism in that party since the Reagan Ford schism in 1976. It's not just a battle of ideas now. This will be we'll have to see with the aftermath of this is will there be a resurrection and a restatement of the Republican Party or will will that party split into two parties from both parties?
It's interesting because some observers have commented to me from the United States that if Trump loses that the Republican Party by next February will be saying, Donald, who in other words, they will reinvent. Yes, I know this.
And David Frum, who I'm very close to, I think is one of the leading intellectual thinkers in this party, has said that if people will try to pretend that they didn't know him and they'll forget that they had supported him. You know, I've been on this odyssey. Listen, I am a Republican when I was with Jeb Bush and he came out of the race and Mr. Trump called me and asked me to go work with him. I said, OK, you know what?
I'm going to be a loyal Republican. There are only two choices for the presidency and I want to go work with them. But but when you got inside the White House or even during the transition and you were witnessing the norm breaking behavior and then what you were witnessing, the deconstruction of the post-World War Two alliances that have, by and large, made the world peaceful and prosperous, you know, you worry he's out there praising dictators. He's moving troops around in ways that people don't really understand.
You worry what he's up to. He's also pilfered, you know, tens of millions of dollars into his businesses, either from the way he's directing traffic into his businesses, from the government or from the political system, the Republican National Committee. So, you know, his his children are making, you know, tens of millions of dollars working inside the White House. So when you when you take a step back and you look at the whole thing, if you love the country and again, I'm the product of a middle class, blue collar family, my dad was a hourly worker, 42 years as a crane operator.
And I've been able to live a very large part of the American dream. I'm so grateful to this country for that opportunity. And if you see somebody breaking all of these norms and disavowing a two hundred and forty four year old system, just the egregious behavior last night where you're using the people's house to make political theater for yourself or you have uniformed Marines in your photo opportunities as you're entering the stage at the political convention. I mean, Vladimir Putin does that stuff.
You know, it's a totally different system in Russia. That's not the system that was designed here. And I'll say something to your listeners that they'll get the diffusion of power at the top, which is a James M. or a John Locke or a Jeffersonian idea has led to all of this individual freedom in autocracies. You get a very thin layer of rich people at the top and the rest of the people, they have a desperation of feeling about their economic outcomes.
I'm speaking with former director of communications at the White House, Anthony Scaramucci. More from Anthony after this.
That Pat Kenny show on Newstalk. Resuming our conversation now with the former director of communications in the Trump White House, Anthony Scaramucci. Do you have second thoughts now about Russian involvement in the Trump campaign in 2016?
We know what Mueller said, but we saw the Intelligence Committee report during the week, which was much less equivocal because it was a political report rather than a legal report.
What do you think now? And do you do you think perhaps Putin does have the goods in some way, financially or otherwise, on Donald Trump?
Well, listen, if you read Seth abridgments books, he's an investigative journalist and a lawyer, he would say yes to all of those things. I I want to be very objective here. I'm just going to tell you what I saw inside the campaign. I did not see active collusion. I did not see a back channel to the Russians. If you read the intelligence report, which I actually did, and remember, it's a Republican intelligence report, the Senate Intelligence Committee, the tie to WikiLeaks actually came from Russian intelligence.
So the stuff got dumped into WikiLeaks from Russian intelligence. They tipped off Roger Stone. Roger Stone did have a conversation with then candidate Trump related to that. So that did break the law. That is that is, you know, more or less a conspiracy. You can call it collusion or a conspiracy. But he had an obligation to notify the FBI that that was happening. And so this is the standard operating procedure for the president. He's always at the line, at the boundary line of either stepping over it and breaking the law, or he's so close to the line that the referee has to run the videotape 10 times before they can make the decision on whether or not it was lawbreaking.
So, you know, I don't think it was as overt as his detractors want them to say. But there was certainly some nefarious things that were going on inside the campaign. And, listen, when you're committing crimes like that, you have to create a very close network of people. Could there have been a few people around him that knew that that was happening? Sure. But the broader campaign, myself included, I didn't see any of that.
But, you know, you've got evidence of it. He commuted Roger Stone sentence for a reason. He knew without that sentence commutation, Mr. Stone would have gone out there and spilled the goods and then you would had to corroborating witnesses. That would have been Michael Cohen who said that he heard the conversation and Mr. Stone, who was privy to it as well. So I want to put the president in a very tough spot. That's why he commuted.
That said, now it looks like that Donald Trump is virtually untouchable. His famous remark about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue and yet having no consequence has been borne out to be metaphorically true.
Michael Cohen's book, will that have any traction at all?
Because some of the anecdotes he's going to tell might be reminiscent of the story from the reports about his activities in Moscow.
Well, listen, you know, I think it'll have an impact, a slight impact. Mary, Mary Trump's book, a slight impact by Judge Mary Trump of his 83 year old sister, basically shared her opinion on video audiotape of what she thinks of her brother. All of these things have a slight impact. They reinforce ardent detractors. The the ardent supporters choose to ignore that stuff. And that's basically part of the personality cult. You know, at the end of the day, there's right wing media outlets in this country that have gaslighted for this president.
And of course, the president is a great guest later. And so you're in a situation where we have a narrative in the country where there's a great culture war. And so people on both sides have this level of vitriol towards each other and they fear the other side and the other side will be taking away their culture or taking away their way of life. And there's great irony to that because both sides are doing just fine in terms of actually and living their lives in America.
And so whether it's Joe Biden becomes president or we have to suffer through another Donald Trump term as president, most people will, by and large go on with their lives exactly the way they were. So, you know, one of the things that the vice president's team has to do is dial down that narrative, take the heat off of that narrative, because if they're successful at doing that, there are moderates who are business minded or they're moderates that don't want excess regulation or bad economic policies that will hold their nose.
Republicans, I should say, and vote for Joe Biden. So we'll have to see if they can do that. I predict that he will do that. There's very, very few undecided voters now. Let me just give you this quick fact. In 2016, 15 to 16 percent of the electorate was undecided going into the last week of the election. In this area right now, same data point, it's six percent of the people. If you look at the women, voting ultimately will be the women of this country that decide this election on educated white men or for the president, educated white men or not, for the president.
The African-American community, his misallocate six percent. The vice president got 80 percent of that community. So so where this thing is going to be played out is in the American suburbs, which is why he is saber rattling and fear mongering people in the suburbs related to crime. What if you look at those women he has so badly turn them off, but the bellicosity of his rhetoric, the meanness and the bullying, it's very hard for a suburban woman to teach their kids about anti-bullying when the kids are getting the full screed of bullying from the president of the United States.
So so he's lost that group of people. And remember, this is an emotional vote for people. It's how they feel about the person. It's not necessarily the policies. And I think it's been very hard. And the remaining 60 days left to convince those people to move their decision.
If the president wins handsomely popular vote, Electoral College votes, we get four more years with whatever that brings.
If, on the other hand, there is zero mail in voting delayed counts, the president doesn't clearly win. The Electoral College loses the popular vote.
And as we heard, it could be up to five million. He could lose that and still win the Electoral College. But suppose he has lost but doesn't accept it. What do you fear?
I think I'm a contrarian there. If the people that don't like the president say that he'll fight this tooth and nail and he'll contest the election and so forth, and I'll accept that. I'll accept that, you know, he's got pending criminal indictments against him that he's going to want to try to avoid by staying in office. So he'll probably fight tooth and nail. But you need if you want to convert a country from a democracy into an autocracy is you need help from the American military.
He is one of the most hated figures. In the American military, he is the most hated commander in chief that we've had in the modern era. Let's say the last 100 years. And so it's not just General Milley, who's chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was appointed by President Trump, that hatam, it's exper, the defense secretary. It's retired and active military generals. And so this has been well reported. The U.S. Marines who guard the White House alongside of the Secret Service have already met and had the conversation of who is dragging him out of the White House if we get into a situation like that.
So one of the things I know about the president, you can just see this, he's remarkably insecure, which is why he manifests all of that blustering and bullying and all of that pomposity. But at the end of the day, he's a coward. He never confronts people. He'll keyboard warrior type it them over Twitter. But just look at that Chris Wallace interview from a month ago when Chris showed him the tweets, he recoiled and started telling Chris Wallace what a great journalist he is.
And so so I know the guy's a coward. I've I've seen it up close. So I see this guy getting blown out. He may have tried to fight it, but they'll scrape him out of the White House. And, oh, by the way, they made a decision. It'll be the Secret Service that does it, not the Marine Corps.
And possibly then what we're witnessing all this stuff about mail in voting and that the election might be stolen is is what he's doing here, maybe fearful of losing the election that he will have for the rest of his life, the excuse that the election was stolen from him and therefore I'm not a loser?
Well, I think I think it's a combination of that, but I really just think it's nefarious behavior to try to win. Go look at the states and look at the areas in those states where he took those mail sorting sorting machines out of the out of the post office. I mean, those were all blue areas and those were all swing states where he's way down in the polls, anywhere from five seven, nine percent down in the polls. And so he's making the bet is, if you notice, he didn't do that in Florida.
You know, the governor of Florida told them, you can't do this in Florida. We have a lot of elderly people that will vote for you by mail. And so he's, you know, a total hypocrite. He's talking out of both sides of his mouth. And then he sends out a tweet about Florida, where he's going after the other states where he knows he's at a material disadvantage in the polling. You know, I think this is important to point out.
I know Kellyanne Conway a long time become closer to George Conway, actually, as a result of his opposition to the president. But Kellyanne is a pollster. She knows the polls. She knows what's coming in.
Anthony, it's great to have a conversation with you, a very educational conversation, I have to say. And I appreciate you giving us the time on our program.
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