Office of the Press Secretary
July 21, 2017

President Donald J. Trump Appoints Anthony Scaramucci to be White House Communications Director

President Donald J. Trump will appoint Anthony Scaramucci, a successful entrepreneur, financier, and founder of SkyBridge Capital, to be White House Communications Director.
Scaramucci will oversee the entire communications operation, including message development and strategy.  He will report directly to the President.
President Trump said, “Anthony is a person I have great respect for, and he will be an important addition to this Administration.  He has been a great supporter and will now help implement key aspects of our agenda while leading the communications team.  We have accomplished so much, and we are being given credit for so little.  The good news is the people get it, even if the media doesn’t.”
Scaramucci added, “President Trump has accomplished an incredible amount in a short period of time, and I am proud to join his Administration as he continues to deliver for the American people.”
Scaramucci, who is currently serving as the senior vice president and chief strategy officer at the Export-Import Bank, will officially begin his new role on August 15, 2017.

President Donald J. Trump Accepts the Resignation of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer

President Donald J. Trump has accepted the resignation of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.  Spicer, who has been Press Secretary since the inauguration and at times also filled the role of White House Communications Director, will continue to serve the Administration through August.
“I am grateful for Sean’s work on behalf of my Administration and the American people,” said President Trump.  “I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities: Just look at his great television ratings.”
“It has been a tremendous honor to serve as the Trump Administration’s first Press Secretary,” said Spicer.  “In just 6 months, President Trump and his staff have done great work to advance the interests of the American people, both at home and abroad.  President Trump’s unwavering commitment to making America great again will no doubt ensure that these successes continue in the coming months and years.”

President Donald J. Trump Elevates Sarah Sanders to the Role of White House Press Secretary

President Donald J. Trump is elevating Sarah Sanders to the role of White House Press Secretary.  Sanders will serve as the President’s principal spokesperson and head of the White House Press Office.
“As Deputy Press Secretary, Sarah has done an outstanding job getting my Administration’s message out to the American people,” said President Trump.  “In this new position, she will continue to promote the progress we are making toward the things the people truly care about, like growing our economy, bringing jobs back from overseas, slashing government bureaucracy, and keeping America secure.”
“I’m humbled by this honor, and grateful to the President for his confidence in me,” said Sanders.  “I’m looking forward to working with our new Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci.  I have great appreciation and respect for Sean Spicer, who has been more than a colleague, but a true friend and mentor.  We’ve had a tremendous first six months, and I am excited about the opportunity to continue promoting the President’s agenda to Make America Great Again.”

DNC on Scaramucci: Trump’s Swamp Grows Even Bigger

In response to the announcement that Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci will be the new White House communications director, DNC deputy communications director Adrienne Watson released the following statement:

“Trump promised to ‘drain the swamp’ and railed against Wall Street on the campaign, but today the swamp grew even bigger as Wall Street continues to move into the White House. Anthony Scaramucci is a longtime Wall Street financier who called himself an ambassador for the hedge-fund industry and admitted he is a ‘out- of-touch Wall Street elitist.’ He’ll fit right in at Trump’s White House.”

Scaramucci has a long history working with banks like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

Economist: “Mr. Scaramucci, a former Goldman Sachs executive, co-founded SkyBridge in 2005. The firm has expanded quickly: SkyBridge acquired some of Citigroup's hedge-fund units in 2010, which helped it quadruple in size.”

New York Magazine: “At first, the idea was for SkyBridge to be an incubator of hedge funds, but that flew out the window after the financial crisis. The down market, however, provided him with another opportunity. In 2010, he made a deal with Citigroup to purchase a funds-of-funds business worth $4 billion.”

Scaramucci acknowledged being “a completely out-of-touch Wall Street elitist.”

SCARAMUCCI: “I’m telling you this story because I said, ‘I’m an out of touch Wall Street elitist? My god, I grew up in a middle class family where my parents didn’t go to college, how could I be an out of touch Wall Street elitist?’ And then it dawned on me that the person was right: that I am actually a completely out of touch Wall Street elitist.”

Scaramucci considered himself an ambassador for the hedge-fund industry.

Economist: “Mr Scaramucci's ambitions go beyond being a run-of-the-mill Wall Street executive, however. He's appointed himself ambassador-at-large for the hedge-fund industry. ‘Everyone wants to be veiled up, secret and in the dark,’ he says. ‘I'd rather go the opposite way.’”

Scaramucci sold his investment firm to a mysterious firm to a mysterious, foreign-connected group the last time he was up for a Trump administration job, but fell back in those circles once he failed to secure a White House job.

Bloomberg: “Scaramucci Scores Millions From Buyer With Mystery Investors.”

Washington Post: “Passed Over For White House Job, Trump Supporter Finds His Way Back Among Wall Street Elite.”

Scaramucci didn’t think money in politics mattered.

SCARAMUCCI: “I’m not smart enough to diagnose whether it’s healthy or unhealthy. What I am here to tell you, and I can prove it empirically to you, is that money matters way less than people think.”

Scaramucci repeatedly defended Wall Street even in the aftermath of the financial meltdown.

SCARAMUCCI: “We have 75 hardworking people that work inside of SkyBridge. So when the industry is tarred and feathered or labeled as ‘do-no-gooders,’ I think it’s unfair, because I can look to a lot of my friends… I don’t think that they’re getting a fair shake.”

New York Times: “‘There are probably some bad people at Goldman,’ he said. ‘But it would be very bad if the government took out Goldman Sachs. Goldman is the American dream factory. They can move people from the lower middle class to the ultra rich in one generation.’ Therefore, he believed, Goldman should be praised, not scorned.”

New York Times: “What was most striking to me was Mr. Scaramucci’s utter refusal to accept the notion that something truly systemic had infected the financial industry during the bubble years.”

SCARAMUCCI: “Well, listen, I think there's been an unnecessary and irrational demonization of Wall Street over the last eight years to score political points, at least on the left-leaning base. And I think that's really unfortunate because I've spent 28 years in the financial services industry, and we're not demons.” [Morning Edition, NPR, 11/18/16]

Scaramucci said he was proud of Goldman Sachs.

SCARAMUCCI: “I’m also proud of the Goldman Sachs and I’ve worked on Wall Street for 28 years. And I’ve had this conversation with the president- elect and I’ll continue to say the same thing. There might be some bad actors on Wall Street.” [The Kelly File, Fox News, 11/25/16]

Scaramucci blamed the 2008 financial crisis on overregulation.

Bloomberg: “Scaramucci, founder of SkyBridge Capital and impresario of an annual industry conference in Las Vegas, says over-regulation was the ‘root cause’ of the 2008 financial crisis—a notion Wall Street critics like Elizabeth Warren call preposterous. But for hedge funds and the wider financial industry, a kinder approach may not require ditching the rules. Enforcement—or less of it—would bring relief too.”

Scaramucci wanted to open an elite restaurant for hedge fund professionals with attractive staff.

Bloomberg: “Anthony Scaramucci, the investment entrepreneur known as the ‘Mooch,’ is teaming up with a restaurant owner and a former Morgan Stanley executive to open a Manhattan eatery catering to hedge-fund and private-equity professionals. The group, which includes restaurateur Eytan Sugarman and David Barrett, a 22-year veteran of Morgan Stanley, seeks to raise $4 million for The Hunt and Fish Club, set to open in December. It will have the feel of an elite ‘clubhouse’ and be an alternative to bars and eateries surrounding the Grand Central Terminal in Midtown, which are ‘not fun’ and have unattractive staff, the team said in marketing documents to prospective investors.”Eric M. Appleman

Opinion - July 25, 2017.  revision: note 2 added July 27

Where is this Heading?

Changes to the communications team seem unlikely to fix the problems with the Trump administration.  It really does appear as Shakespeare wrote that, "“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”  One only need to look at President Trump's Tweetstream to see his preoccupation with the Russia investigation.  (Sample Tweet from July 24, "So why aren't the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?")  What could be the explanation for Trump's resistance to the investigation and his solicitous attitude towards the Russians?

In a July 19, 2017 New York Times interview with Trump, reporter Michael Schmidt posed the question, "Last thing, if Mueller was looking at your finances and your family finances, unrelated to Russia — is that a red line?"  Trump said yes, responding in part, "I don’t make money from Russia. In fact, I put out a letter saying that I don’t make — from one of the most highly respected law firms, accounting firms." 

The real question is not whether Trump makes money from Russia but whether he is beholden to Russian interests through loans and other dealings.  Craig Unger's recent article in The New Republic outlines that case in compelling detail.   Trump, of course, refused to release his tax returns during the campaign.  His attacks on "Crooked Hillary," which certainly could have had an element of truth, deflected attention from his own shady dealings and muddied the waters.  Trump's ongoing attacks on "fake news" and "fake media" and his and allies' attempts to undermine the credibility of the investigation (1, 2) seem designed to deflect and distract.

(The reference to "beleagured A.G." is also interesting; Trump himself undercut Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one of his earliest allies, in the July 19 interview).

Craig Unger.  "Trump's Russian Laundromat"  The New Republic, July 13, 2017.

Peter Baker, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman. "Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t Have Hired Sessions."  New York Times, July 19, 2017.

Also note, to prevent this type of problem from happening again there are legislative efforts in Congress and at the state level to force presidential candidates to release their tax returns.