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Monday, July 24, 2017

Scaramucci: I'll bring you Kleenex, CNN

Anthony Scaramucci gave a radio interview to Breitbart on Saturday, and on Fox News, CNN, and CBS News on Sunday.

On CNN, he came off as relaxed, prepared, and cheerful. I will speculate on why later, but first, let's look at his interview with Jake Tapper.

By the way, in two magazine profiles, CNN President Jeff Zucker deliberately went to the control booth on separate occasions to feed Tapper questions. I would put a bob or two on his being there on Sunday.

And Scaramucci earlier made no secret that he got the job as communications director at the White House after he forced CNN to issue a retraction and dumped three staffers after the news channel libeled him. What did I tell you? You think I lie?
TAPPER: So, you come to the White House at a time when President Trump historically low approval ratings. He has signed into law zero major pieces of legislation. Health care is on life support. Multiple investigations are under way. I guess the big question is, is President Trump facing a communications problem, or is it a substance problem? 
SCARAMUCCI: Did you -- did you leave anything out? I mean, you were doing pretty well there. 
TAPPER: I gave you a short version. 
Listen, there's obviously a communications problem, because there's a lot of things that we have done as it relates to executive orders, bills that have been signed, economic progress.
I don't want to cite all the economic data. But the economy is super strong. Business optimism is way up. And over the next six months, we're going to have phenomenal achievements from the president.
I still think we're going to get the health care situation done. One of my closest friends is the secretary of treasury. Very confident on tax reform. If the president gets those two pillars done, which I predict he will over the next six months, you and I hopefully will sit down around Christmastime and be having a different conversation about the presidency, the communication coming out of the White House, and our achievements.
And so these things, they go up and down, Jake, as you know. The president is an experienced businessperson. He is a very effective politician. And I just think we need to deliver the messaging a little bit differently than we have been doing it in the past.
And my prediction is, is that this stuff is going to start to come to fruition quite quickly. 
That's his message and he is sticking to it. I liked this exchange:
TAPPER: I guess another question is, is it more authenticity that President Trump needs, or is it more restraint? 
SCARAMUCCI: Listen, I don't want to be a career guidance counselor for those people that he's talking about. But let me give some advice to those people on your show...
He hit that theme a second time. With humor.
SCARAMUCCI: So, for me, I would tell people that that's the president. He is 71 years old. We're not going to change him. By the way, the last time I checked, he won the presidency quite handily. He's going to win it again in 2020. He's our guy. And so how to learn to work with and operate with him.
The next exchange was very revealing.
TAPPER: Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on sanctions to punish Russia for its election meddling and aggression towards its neighbors. Is President Trump going to sign the Russian sanctions bill? 
SCARAMUCCI: We got to ask President Trump that. 
Nice. I don't know. Gets him off the hook, and helps his credibility by admitting human frailty. Very smooth.

Then he tried to move the conversation to a denial of the Russian hacking. Tapper pushed back.
SCARAMUCCI: This man, our president, he has phenomenal instincts. A lot of the stuff that people have said in the mainstream media that was supposedly true turned out that it wasn't true. I think it was three or four weeks ago there were 17 intelligence agency that were saying something.
Then we realized that there was only four intelligence agencies. And I'm not saying four intelligence agencies is insignificant. I'm just saying there's a lot of disinformation out there.
You know, somebody said to me yesterday -- I won't tell you who -- that if the Russians actually hacked this situation and spilled out those e-mails, you would have never seen it. You would have never had any evidence of them, meaning that they're super confident in their deception skills and hacking. My point is, all of the information isn't on the table yet. But here's what I know about the president.
TAPPER: Well, wait, wait, wait. Anthony, Anthony, Anthony...
Anthony, Anthony, Anthony. That a friendly way of reeling a subject back in.
TAPPER: Well, you're making a lot of assertions here. I don't know who this anonymous person is that said, if the Russians had actually done it, we wouldn't have been able to detect it, but it is the unanimous...
SCARAMUCCI: How about it was -- how about it was the president, Jake?
TAPPER: OK. It's the consensus of the intelligence community.
SCARAMUCCI: I talked to you yesterday. He called me from Air Force One. 
SCARAMUCCI: And he basically said to me, hey, you know, this is -- maybe they did it. Maybe they didn't do it. And I'm going to maintain for you -- hold on a second. 
TAPPER: OK. This is -- but this is exactly the issue here.
There was give and take. This was closer to the Tapper I liked before he became Zucker's sock puppet. Tapper (Zucker) banned Kellyane Conway from his show temporarily because he said she was lying. That was an over-the-top assertion that was unprofessional.

But now we are seeing a stepping back by both sides, a dialing down. Trump ain't going anywhere, and neither is the press. He gave the New York Times an exclusive interview on Wednesday. Now this. Zucker and Trump may have talked things over. At any rate, this seemed like a fresh start.

Which leads to the Kleenex quote. Taken without the background I just showed, it sounds defiant and confrontational. It wasn't.
SCARAMUCCI: I like talking to him. But you know who else I'm talking to? The people I grew up with. 
TAPPER: I get it. 
SCARAMUCCI: And they get -- they get me and they get him. And he's going to...
TAPPER: I grew up in a very similar neighborhood in Philadelphia. 
SCARAMUCCI: And he's going to -- he's going to win again. He's going to win again, Jake. He's going to win again. I will bring a box of Kleenex over here to CNN in 2020. 
TAPPER: We don't -- we don't need Kleenex. We don't need any Kleenex. 
SCARAMUCCI: He is going to win again, Jake. 
Breitbart pointed out Tapper lied about Philadelphia.

Scaramucci grew up on Long Island. He went on to Tufts, and Harvard Law.

He's a billionaire whose father was a construction worker. Scaramucci does not need this job but he has been trying to gravitate to the White House, first with Obama. Now he gets his shot.

Communications director may be his forte. Nothing in his background really hints at that, but he has Trump's ear, he has self-confidence, and he is a salesman. He does not have that journalistic background just as Trump does not have that political background.

We shall see how this works out.

We have two Americas now. Maybe Tapper and Scaramucci can get us back to some semblance of civility without losing our manhood.

But both sides have to back off, not just one. Republicans no longer play nice. You know, Christ also wasn't above upending tables and chase people around with a whip of cords to get his point across.

Afterward, there are tables and chairs to put back. Maybe we are at that point.

Caution: Readers occasionally may laugh out loud at the media as they read this account of Trump's election.

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  1. The fact that Scaramucci has no future aspirations, that he is not using the job he has as a stepping stone to other journalistic positions, puts him in a position where he can speak almost unguardedly. He is not deathly afraid of minor slip-ups and can banter with ease and fight when he has to.
    Your last post was about when the press lost its power. They have certainly lost some, that's for sure. If they can be seen as bringing down another president they will think they've got it back.
    When I was a kid I lived in Rhodesia and learned to know and hate the press/media complex at a young age. In this situation they brought down a whole country by manipulating millions of people and world leaders into virtue signalling a peaceful country into a another communist dictatorship like Cuba. Two things come to mind that Americans would have seen: Garrick Utley talking about it almost nonstop on NBC news in the early seventies, and an episode of Mission Impossible where they didn't even bother to use a fictitious name for the country they were operating in (or maybe they did and it was so obvious that they needn't have).
    The best thing about now is that, as Breitbart said, "We have the internet. We can fact check your ass."

    Thanks for all you do Don.

  2. Scaramucci seems to be an excellent pick.

  3. Tapper swaid they don't need Kleenex. I agree. They need Pampers.