In the 17th century “Italian Commedia” (Italian theatrical arts) a clown character well known for alternating acts of boastfulness and cowardice is called “Scaramuccia,” “Scaramouche” or “little skirmisher.”
This character has appeared in theatre, operas, and puppet shows to this day. In the U.S., Scaramoche has been a staple of “Punch and Judy” marionette and puppet shows for over a century.
Recently, after hurling the acting White House Communications Director and Press Secretary Sean Spicer under the Trump “Make America Great Again” bus, the President hired investment expert Anthony Scaramucci (The Mooch) to run communications in the West Wing. Surprisingly, he was thrown under that same bus in only ten days.
Scaramucci walked into a White House in disarray. Nothing of merit has been accomplished in the first half year of the Trump presidency. No significant legislation has been signed into law. No successful effort has occurred to address the ever-growing national debt. No budget has been passed and the administration’s budget proposals have been met with derision on both sides of the aisle. No repeal of the Affordable Care Act has taken place and no agreed upon replacement is anywhere in sight. No international southern border wall is being built. No mass of domestic manufacturing jobs have been recreated. Recently, desperately and abruptly, the chief of staff (COS) has been sacked in favor of a hard-honed marine general and current Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly.
The Donald had tried to install Scaramucci earlier in his administration. In January, before the inauguration Mooch was named Assistant to the President, and Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs.
However, the United States Office of Government Ethics (OGE)
found questionable practices in the Scaramucci’s business life with many “red flags.” Eventually, the Mooch was pulled from consideration and businessperson and former Ideagen CEO George Sifakis was tapped for the position.
With an administration that has operated in a state of constant chaos, why did President Trump choose such a controversial figure to try to bring message continuity to this circus of an administration? Like the theatrical character that shares his name, Scaramucci has a long public history of boastfulness and grandiose self-acclaim. His penchant for self-aggrandizement and lurid profanity has proudly been self-described as a “New York attitude.”
No reasonable executive would have thought the addition of this boastful clown would have invigorated the administration. Nor, would he be able to organize its message traffic in a fashion that effectuates the president’s agenda? Alas, the Mooch was just another example of an additional disruptive player in the three-ring circus that is the Trump presidency.
However, both are native New Yorkers. President Trump and Anthony Scaramucci have a lot in common. Both are brash, arrogant, and materialistic, obsessed with status, and pride themselves at forging deals when others have failed to. In the metro New York press, the Mooch has been referred to as “Mini-Trump” (a reference to the Austin Powers movie character “Mini-Me”).
Like the president, the Mooch has contributed royally to Democrat candidates in the past. He ran a fundraiser for former President Barack Obama in 2008. Conversely, he served as Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s finance co-chair in 2012. He has also supported Hillary Clinton in past campaigns as well. Like the president, he had been a Democrat before he was a Republican. Thus, one can conclude that both men are enthralled with title and power, not political ideology.
Previously an expert in banking equities at Goldman Sachs, the Mooch went on to become president of both Oscar Capital Management and Sky Bridge Capital specializing in quick profit hedge funds. In the volatile world of risky high finance, the Mooch gained a reputation of a braggart and financial dragon slayer.
But like the stock clown character from 17th Century Italian theatre that bears his name, he suffered from boastfulness and over-exaggeration of his successes.
In the past, the Mooch has claimed his wealth is in the billions when it is actually in the millions. Similarly, the Donald has previously claimed a wealth of about ten billion when most of those with accounting expertise seem to believe that his accumulated wealth is under four billion. Why the embellishment? Are Trump and Mini-Trump’s self-image so intertwined with an amassment of assets that they are both so self-possessed nothing else is a priority in their lives?
More simply, it is logical to conclude that both Trump and the Mooch are too narcissistic to much care about the troubles of the country and the common man. It seems they can only respect those similarly obsessed with station and money. So, the immediate loss of Scaramouche the clown is no great loss at all.
Embattled from the start, the man the Mooch replaced was Rhode Islander Sean Spicer. As press secretary and later acting communications director, Spicer had to explain away the recklessly extemporaneous tweets of the president. Arguably, Spicer may have been the most put upon press secretary since embattled President Richard Nixon’s Watergate Era Press Secretary Ron Ziegler.
From the moment after the inauguration, Spicer had to deal with the incongruity of a boss who constantly “tweeted” via Twitter the exact opposite of his already stated policy. Also, competing forces within the cabinet would say contrary things about the president’s policy commitments. Then poor Sean Spicer would have to justify all the gaffes and blend them into one cohesive message, which was a near impossible task.
Understandably, the newly elevated Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is facing a hornet’s nest that she may not fully comprehend. Now with her new boss gone in a week and a half, Sanders has a Herculean task ahead. She has been set adrift in a sea of inquiring reporters without the rudder of a message schematic. Good luck Sarah!
Along with this great shake-up, has immediately come another. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was also thrown under the ever-rolling Trump campaign bus. The Mooch hard lobbied the Donald to hurl Priebus under the wheels so he could cull more power.
Obviously, the Mooch overplayed his hand for Trump’s choice to replace Priebus was retired Marine Corps General John F. Kelly. Kelly was, until becoming COS, the Secretary of Homeland Security.
A Marine with over four decades of service to the country, Kelly was the former commanding general of the US Southern Command. General Kelly was not going to endure working with the despicable Mooch. As a result, the Mooch was shown the undercarriage of that bus making him the shortest serving communications director ever.
Surely, part of the evidence Kelly used to make his decision occurred recently. The tactics employed by the Mooch to attack the now former chief of staff were reprehensible. According to an accounting of the Mooch’s statements in the New Yorker, at a White House dinner the Mooch said “Reince is a F*****g paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.”
Inaccurate psychological terms and vulgarities aside, Mooch blamed Priebus for all White House leaks to the press. Even though it could not be proven Reince was responsible. The Mooch continued with a colorful debasement of the chief of staff’s competence and questionable loyalties to the president. He won the Donald’s agreement with his accusations about Priebus’ culpability.
In regard to the new chief of staff, a boastful clown was unlikely to impress a hell bent for leather marine general. Additionally for a change, the president seems to be acting in a prudent fashion. Apparently, he will allow Kelly to run the chief of staff’s office in a traditional manner. In other words, the Donald wants to stop the bedlam and organize his administration so they are all rowing in the same direction. All activity will now filter through the COS office. Direct access to the president will be restricted to the president’s family and the chief of staff. There will be one power center not four competing ones.
All in all, the boastful and cowardly clown known as the Mooch might be entertaining on a stage, but he doesn’t belong in the administration. Especially, since General Kelly is trying to convert the circus into a well run machine. In the end, Scaramoche was hurled under the same bus that he pushed others under. The show closed early for this boastful and cowardly clown, and that seems just for the reviews weren’t very good!