UPDATE with video In his first interview since getting bounced from the White House, Anthony Scaramucci told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week today that President Donald Trump “needed to be much harsher” by calling out white supremacists in Charlottesville yesterday.
“Well, I wouldn’t have recommended that statement,” the former (and briefly) White House communications director said of Trump’s “blame on many sides” speech yesterday. “I think he needed to be much harsher as it related to the white supremacists and the nature of that. I applaud General McMaster for calling it out for what it is. It’s actually terrorism. Whether it’s domestic or international terrorism, with the moral authority of the presidency, you have to call that stuff out.”
In the wide ranging exclusive interview, the Mooch called Trump adviser Steve Bannon and Breitbart News “a snag” on the presidency, and seemed to suggest that Bannon’s White House days are numbered.
After stating that the president needs to move away from what he referred to as the “Bannonbart” influence towards the mainstream, Scaramucci was asked whether “Bannon has to go.”
“Well, I think the president knows what he’s going to do with Steve Bannon,” said the Mooch, declining to get into specifics. “Let’s leave it up to the president. It’s his decision. But I mean, at the end of the day, I think the president has a very good idea of who the leakers are inside the White House. The president has a very good idea of the people that are undermining his agenda that are serving their own interests.”
Asked by Stephanopoulos whether that included Bannon, Scaramucci said, “Well, yes. Look, I mean, we’re not on a phone call, and a taped phone call. And so we’re on live television, and so I would prefer to let the president make the decisions that the president needs to make.”
The “taped phone call” jibe seemed directed both at New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza and himself for the expletive-filled interview that led to Scaramucci’s White House firing. The Mooch stuck by his insistence that he thought the interview was off the record and “was a very deceitful thing,” but repeatedly said he is “accountable” for his own actions.
“Do I think I deserve be fired?,” Scaramucci told Stephanopoulos. “Well, obviously, I wish they would have given me a bar of soap and told me to go wash my mouth out in the bathroom and move on. I don’t necessarily think — it was going to be very hard to stay in the job given the fact that General Kelly took over. And so I respect General Kelly, and so my feeling about the whole thing is that — what happens was sort of meant to happen.”