President Donald Trump has finally found a courtier who can give him the buttery, boundless respect he craves.
A wealthy mini-me Manhattan bro with wolfy smile and slick coif who will say anything and flip any position. A self-promoter extraordinaire and master salesman who doesn’t mind pushing a bad product – and probably sees it as more fun.
For ego gratification, Trump has struck gold – or Goldman Sachs – with his appointment of Wall Street hedge fund guy and cable TV diva Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director.
The Mogul and the Mooch is a tender love story with dramatic implications for the imploding White House.
They have so much in common beyond an addiction to hair product. Both enjoy stirring the pot and shifting political loyalties. (Both had high praise for Hillary Clinton.) They savor counterpunching, especially in donnybrooks with CNN.
Trump was taken with Scaramucci’s win in getting CNN to retract a story linking him to a Russian investment fund supposedly under Senate investigation, a debacle that ended in three reporters losing their jobs.
The Mogul and the Mooch have the same fluid relationship with the truth and the same definition of loyalty.
I love the president and I’m very, very loyal to the president.
Anthony Scaramucci, White House communications director
Donald Trump made it clear in an interview with Michael Schmidt, Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker in The New York Times on Wednesday that he was hurt that Jeff Sessions essentially put the Constitution over him, calling his attorney general’s decision to recuse himself on the Russia investigation “very unfair to the president.”
And Politico reported about Scaramucci: “A few years ago, while interviewing PR firms, he was blunt about what he was looking for, according to one person present for the meeting. During the 90-minute meeting, Scaramucci told this person: ‘I need someone who’s prepared to go to the mat and lie for me.’”
Sean Spicer had the impossible task of defending a president who didn’t believe in telling the truth to a press fixated on the president’s lying. He was impersonated by a woman on “Saturday Night Live” and put up with Steve Bannon calling him fat. He made up a bunch of nonsense about crowd sizes to please a boss who tallies his own personal value by crowd sizes.
The devout Catholic was cruelly denied his greatest dream when he was deliberately left out of a meeting with the pope during Trump’s trip to the Vatican.
And in a new revelation of humiliation, Michael Bender reported in The Wall Street Journal that Spicer even had to steal his own mini-fridge soon after he started, lugging one in at night from a nearby executive office building.
But somehow Spicer’s red line was the hiring of Scaramucci, which signaled his own diminished power. And the Mooch’s other foes were worried that he would make the White House seem even more amateur, as if that were possible.
Also worried were White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and Bannon, who, according to Politico, “confronted Anthony Scaramucci in the West Wing on Friday morning, threatening to block the financier’s appointment.”
But in his first turn at the White House podium Friday, the natty Scaramucci easily outdid Spicer, who in his first outing had upset the president by wearing a suit that was too big.
And I love the mission that the president has.
The Mooch instantly showed he knew the point of his job was not communicating with the reporters assembled before him. The point was communicating with the needy egomaniac in the Oval Office.
“But here’s what I tell you about the president,” Scaramucci said. “He’s the most competitive person I’ve ever met. OK – I’ve seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. I’ve seen him at Madison Square Garden with a topcoat on, he’s standing in the key and he’s hitting foul shots and he’s swishing them, OK? He sinks 3-foot putts.”
And not only that.
“The president has really good karma, OK?”
Scaramucci used big brush strokes to paint a portrait of his skyscraper-high regard for Trump, even though it was a mere two years ago that he was dismissing Trump on Fox News as a “hack politician” with “crazy rhetoric” that was “anti-American” and “very, very divisive.”
The Daily Beast reported that, hours after he got the White House job, Scaramucci deleted his old tweets praising Hillary, calling her “the real deal.”
On Friday, it was all Trump love.
I love the president.
First, he instructed about the “disconnect between the way we see the president and how much we love the president and the way some of you perhaps see the president.”
Then he just spit it out: “I love the president.”
Then he added: “But I love the president and I’m very, very loyal to the president. And I love the mission that the president has.” And then he added, “I love the president.” Then: “But here’s what I will tell you, OK? I love the president.”
The arrival of the Mooch was a win for the New Yorkification of the White House, another Goldman veteran and a power shift toward those who pushed for the gregarious Scaramucci, including Jared, Ivanka and Wilbur Ross, against the swamp creatures, Priebus and Spicer, and the bridge troll, Bannon.
But a change in communications personnel will not solve the central problem for Trump. He doesn’t understand that Robert Mueller is not a contractor he’s in a civil litigation dispute with, someone he can intimidate and wear down and threaten and bleed out.
But here’s what I will tell you, OK? I love the president.
Bringing in another New York deal-maker won’t help him understand the existential threat he faces in Washington from Mueller.
Maureen Dowd is a columnist for The New York Times.