Can Anthony Scaramucci Get the White House's Message Operation Back on Track?
"The Mooch" was a popular topic of conversation during the first day of Politicon 2017.
Few individuals have burst onto the national political scene the way Anthony Scaramucci has over the last week. On July 21, he was tapped as White House communications director, coinciding with Sean Spicer's departure as press secretary.
If Scaramucci's goal was to make waves, he certainly has done that, highlighted by his expletive-laden conversation with The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza on Wednesday, published by the magazine the next day.
But will Scaramucci actually help get the White House communications shop on track? Jason Miller, who was originally appointed as White House communications director before stepping aside over a family matter, expressed confidence in President Donald Trump's pick of "The Mooch."
During a panel discussion Saturday afternoon at the Politicon conference in Pasadena, Miller called Scaramucci "a little bit of a breath of fresh air" and said he thinks he'll do a really good job.
"Anthony really gets the mindset of where the president's coming from," said Miller, who ran communications for the Trump transition team. "I think Anthony is a good messenger, a good communicator."
In a later panel discussion about "Trump vs. the Media," Miller was booed for defending Scaramucci. William Kristol, editor at large of The Weekly Standard, predicted during the discussion that Scaramucci "would be gone soon."
Miller also made a pitch for a more available Trump, and suggested that he give briefings every other week. In that case, Miller said the media would be less concerned about how often press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders briefs the press corps on camera.
Jen Psaki, who served as communications director during Barack Obama's presidency, said the White House loses credibility and goodwill when it treats the media with disrespect, though she said that every White House tussles with reporters. "The press always wants more than you're going to give," she said.
Tommy Vietor, another former Obama spokesman, discussed the departure of Spicer and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus with his fellow Pod Save America co-hosts earlier in the day. Referring to the appointment of Scaramucci, Vietor said, "Now he's going to his New York goon friends to run things, and they care less about norms and traditions than the other guys."
Vietor and his co-hosts teased Scaramucci for cancelling his scheduled appearances at Politicon this weekend. "Where's the Mooch?" asked former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett.