Scaramucci’s arrival was described by one adviser as “a cannonball from a diving board into a pool.” With his brash outer-borough New York ethos and flair for showmanship, Scaramucci is perhaps more like Trump himself than anyone else on the White House staff — and his appointment is a clear signal that the president is walking away from his initial embrace of establishment Republicans familiar with Washington.
Instead, Trump is choosing the gut-driven approach that won him the presidency. And that especially doesn’t bode well for Priebus.
.. The chief of staff has seen his power base steadily erode, losing first his deputy Katie Walsh, who departed the administration in March and recently returned to the RNC, and then press secretary Sean Spicer, who resigned after it was clear that Scaramucci would be above him in the West Wing.
.. Priebus’ usual defenders in the White House seemed subdued on Thursday, a noticeable shift from earlier in the administration, when public criticism of the chief of staff was met with a rapid response. No one seemed empowered to defend Priebus, unlike in the early days, when two paragraphs in a story about him could prompt six or more phone calls.
.. One person who spoke with Priebus over the weekend said he’d wanted to make it to one year in the White House, but has settled for staying “at least through health care.”
.. Priebus has begun calling allies and asking for advice on whether he should stay in the job and how he should handle the situation, according to people familiar with the talks. One such call went to Speaker Paul Ryan earlier this week, who advised Priebus to stay and that the president needed him. “They speak often,” said Doug Andres, a Ryan spokesman, who declined to comment further.
.. Newly elevated press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to give Priebus a direct vote of confidence at the daily briefing Thursday, saying the president would “let you know” if he wasn’t happy with his staff. “The president enjoys healthy competition,” Sanders said.
.. He said there are only two people who can be trusted in the White House. “I can tell you two fish that don’t stink,” Scaramucci said to CNN. “That’s me and the president.”
.. “There are people inside this administration that think it’s their job to save America from this president,” he added.
.. Whether Scaramucci, who seems to have an innate understanding of Trump, remains his “flavor of the month,” in the words of one adviser, seems unclear. But friends say Trump is already more comfortable with Scaramucci — who is forceful and smooth on TV — and that he respects Scaramucci for his business acumen.
.. “If this is less of a s—show because Anthony Scaramucci is imposing some discipline and getting things done, that’s good for the country. It’s good for the country to have a functioning government even if you disagree vehemently,” said Stu Loeser, a friend and former press secretary to Michael Bloomberg.
.. “It is totally out of control, chaos,” Zelizer said. “This is unnerving people in Washington and everywhere, where the president’s advisers can’t get him to do anything and are behaving like this.”
.. And Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker who serves as a surrogate for Trump, offered some advice to Priebus, as he copes with being on the ropes: “Just do your job.”