Curiously-worded comments by White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci on Thursday suggest a deepening rift between two factions in the Trump administration.
“There are people inside the administration that think it is their job to save America from this president,” Scaramucci said on CNN’s “New Day” Thursday morning. “OK, that is not their job. Their job is to inject this president into America.”
“It is not their job … to sit there and try to withhold the president, to rein him in or do things that will slow down his agenda,” Scaramucci said. “That’s not their job.”
The comments follow reports of ongoing tension between Scaramucci, who assumed the chief communications position on Friday, and other senior White House officials, including chief of staff Reince Priebus. In the same call-in to CNN, Scaramucci seemed to accuse Priebus of leaking Scaramucci’s financial disclosure form to Politico, although the document is publicly available.
“If Reince wants to explain that he’s not a leaker, let him do that,” Scaramucci said.
“I can speak for my own actions. He’s gonna need to speak for his own actions.”
Since joining the administration, Scaramucci has promised to crack down on media leaks and has publicly threatened to fire disloyal members of his communications team.
But it was Scaramucci’s comments about the motivations of White House staffers that drew the attention of CNN anchor Jake Tapper, who unpacked the implications Thursday evening.
“What are these Trump administration officials doing to rein in President Trump, and why do they feel the need to do so?” Tapper said.
“Why are they so concerned about the president’s behaviour that they think that they have to, quote, ‘save America from this president’? Save America from what? What are they so worried about, these, quote, ‘people inside the administration’?”