In Trump's White House, No One Comes out Alive

It’s been a very bad week for Anthony Scaramucci, who, after getting sacked from his marriage, got sacked from his job.


He’s dead even to his alma mater – Harvard law school’s alumni directory, in an erroneous report, apparently declared him deceased.

That his stint in the public eye lasted less than two weeks, though, should be less a punchline than it is edifying. The lesson: there is no worse job than trying to speak for Trump.

Though his entire White House has been full of political upheaval, with jobs changing over and positions going unfilled, it’s not by chance the the role of spokesperson is most fraught.

Under any president it’s a job that requires answering to the public, and if you work for Trump, that means obfuscating all the time. It also means, more than any other single person, and there are plenty within the White House, you’re the fallguy to absorb Trump’s hit.

If anyone could have succeeded in this line of thankless work, it should have been Scaramucci. After all he was in many ways the spitting image of his boss: petty and vain, if endlessly entertaining, a man who loves – above all – the sight of his own face on TV.

Most tellingly, perhaps, he’s loyalty-obsessed but disloyal himself. A strange distinction indeed for a guy who backed any candidate other than Trump as recently as last year, and fundraised for Obama in 2008.

His disloyalty was perhaps on display last week when his wife reportedly left him for being so “hell-bent” on the White House, relentlessly – and opportunistically – courting Trump after his presidential rise. In January he sold his $11m stake in SkyBridge Capital in anticipation of a White House job.

Whether the details of the divorce report are true, what’s clear is he was willing to sacrifice everything: family, finance, reputation. It’s the same win-at-all-costs drive we’ve seen displayed repeatedly in Trump.

Then Trump turned around and sacrificed him.

He had been hired, it’s been said, as a tool to hasten the departure of Reince Priebus. And here, the loyalty flip again: though Scaramucci had once described his relationship with Priebus as one of “brothers” upon arriving in the White House, he went on the attack.

Later, he sought to clarify that he and Priebus were like feuding biblical brothers Cain and Abel – but as we now see, in the Trump White House version of the story, no one comes out alive.

The move was said to come at the request of Trump’s new chief of staff, John F Kelly, the latest dummy to buy into Trump’s game. “Mr Scaramucci felt it was best to give chief of staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team,” read a statement from the White House. Whether it was issued by axed spokesman Sean Spicer or current deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was somewhat comically unclear.

What isn’t is that there will be no clean slates, as the White House seeks to pivot away from turmoil and toward passing its tax cut package: whoever fills his shoes will continue the circus anew before being sacrificed, in an oft-repeated ritual, on Trump’s altar.

For the president has always been willing to betray his political allies without a second thought, even as he demands comic levels of fealty from his underlings.

And having watched the rapid unraveling of the former family man known as Scaramucci, no person in their right mind would take the job now.

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