This is the dumbest thing that has ever happened.
I know that my title is vulgar, but…like…the White House Communications Director said that…about the White House Chief Strategist. He’s not even denying he said it. It’s a 100% newsworthy line. Their senior stature in the highest public office in the land justifies the decision by outlets like The New Yorker to fully run quotes like “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.” There is a gigantic power vacuum sitting beneath our lazy, cable-news-binging president, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the man brought in to drive the bus that Trump just threw Sean Spicer under would immediately make a move on someone who essentially agreed with Bannon, who said that Anthony Scaramucci would be hired “over my dead body.”
Per The New Yorker's report:
[Scaramucci] channeled Priebus as he spoke: “ 'Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.' ”
If you're wondering how we got here, Shane Ryan wrote a great explainer yesterday at Paste. For the tl;dr crowd, this portion of the saga began with this now-deleted tweet by Anthony Scaramucci.
Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker then confirmed that this was no joke. Mooch wanted to sic the Feds on Reince.
Scaramucci's initial tweet was then deleted, and a new one emerged.
THIS IS THE DUMBEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED!
Sorry, it's hard to keep those outbursts down right now. I had that thought on election night and stuck it in my memory bank to debut for a future bout of stupidity. I thought that openly disclosing some of the most classified information on planet Earth TO THE FREAKING RUSSIANS IN THE FREAKING OVAL FREAKING OFFICE would be one of my best chances for peak-stupid, and so I shot my shot. Little did I know that episode would soon become ancient history, buried under a suffocating stream of idiocy that makes our problems with carbon look tame by comparison. The phrase now haunts me like a ghost.
You really need to read this insane New Yorker piece. I'm begging you. I've been writing about politics for a decade, and this may be the hardest I've ever laughed. They all deserve each other. The circular firing squad is assembling, and Mooch kicked off the festivities with the first two shots—three if you count his threat to fire the entire White House Communications Office.
No, that's not hyperbole—the entire office. Per the first two paragraphs of Ryan Lizza's New Yorker report:
On Wednesday night, I received a phone call from Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director. He wasn't happy. Earlier in the night, I'd tweeted, citing a “senior White House official,” that Scaramucci was having dinner at the White House with President Trump, the First Lady, Sean Hannity, and the former Fox News executive Bill Shine. It was an interesting group, and raised some questions. Was Trump getting strategic advice from Hannity? Was he considering hiring Shine? But Scaramucci had his own question—for me.
“Who leaked that to you?” he asked. I said I couldn't give him that information. He responded by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. “What I'm going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we'll start over,” he said. I laughed, not sure if he really believed that such a threat would convince a journalist to reveal a source. He continued to press me and complain about the staff he's inherited in his new job. “I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can't help themselves,” he said. “You're an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I'm asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”
If we're really gonna go full-Trump, the only way this ends is with a triple threat ladder match for the WWE Trumpionship Belt at Wrestlemania (held at Mar-A-Lago). His new white knight, his troll under a bridge and the establishment elf have already provided us with the backstage drama. Hell, Mooch just delivered a world-class heel promo to The New Yorker. We're ready to go. The only thing that's left is all of them fighting while trying to climb a ladder and literally grab Trump's brass ring. That's what this is all about anyway, right?
Talking this out sounds like you're writing the script for a Mean Girls sequel. Mooch and Reince don't like each other, and Bannon doesn't like anybody. Reince and Bannon used to fight but now they co-exist in the King's court, but they both agreed that Mooch would join their clique “over my dead body.” Now Mooch is talking about Bannon and Reince behind their backs to Ryan in New York (and to the FBI and DOJ?????????), and this entire melodrama is designed to get Donald's attention.*
*I had this whole piece written, went to dinner, then came back and saw Mooch post this definitely not super passive aggressive tweet. It's perfect.
I should probably end with something uplifting or poignant, but I’ve got nothing. What else is there to say? We’re governed by the adults on South Park doing a parody of 1980s New York City. It’s terrifying, and it leaves (almost) all of us concerned about the future, but the silver lining is that the madness can be funny and mostly harmless sometimes—and hearty, schadenfreudian laughs are a necessary part of resisting (side note: please stop calling it “The Resistance”). It doesn’t really matter to your life who the White House Communications Director is. With a manchild like Trump, the organization provided by his chiefs of staff and strategy go out the window the millisecond they leave the room, so it doesn’t really matter who they are either. Just enjoy the fight. This administration is a complete and utter shitshow simply because it’s following the lead of the president.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.