New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci has a history of attacking the press and repeating right-wing media myths, lies, and talking points.
Anthony Scaramucci named new White House communications director
TV personality Anthony Scaramucci was named the new White House communications director the same day White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer quit. Anthony Scaramucci, a former Fox News contributor and longtime financial television personality, was named the new communications director for the Trump White House on July 21. Sean Spicer, the former press secretary reportedly resigned in protest. In his first televised press briefing, Scaramucci pushed pro-Trump lies and attempted to downplay the controversy surrounding Spicer's resignation. During the briefing, Scaramucci also apologized for calling Trump “another hack politician” in 2015. [The New York Times, 7/21/17; Media Matters, 7/21/17; Media Matters 7/21/17]
Scaramucci has a record of attacking the press
Scaramucci compared the media to Soviet Union state-run media Pravda. In a discussion of then presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s taxes, Scaramucci argued the mainstream media cares only about Trump’s taxes because they want to launch a “coordinated attack” against him, “prosecuting the way ‘Pravda’ used to do for the Soviet Union.” Scaramucci then joined in an attack on the New York Times by Sean Hannity, adding “It's a free enterprise system and they're trying to thwart that as well.” From the October 4 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): The Clintons, they used every tax deduction. In 2015 they claimed a $699,000 loss.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: Again, the real issue is that what used to be called the fourth estate, Sean, is now part of the state. The mainstream media is now an organized member of the state, prosecuting the way “Pravda” used to do for the Soviet Union. It's a coordinated attack.
HANNITY: It's true. It's illegal. They wouldn't publish the global warming papers that came out on global warming gate, Eric, so --
HANNITY: They made a big assumption here. And by the way, they used the tax code over at the The New York Times, but the net loss carried forward would have been in 95 to 2010.
SCARAMUCCI: You don't know. You get three years prior and then 15 years forward. That's where the 18 years comes from. But listen, Judge Learned Hand, Oliver Wendell Holmes, they've all said the same thing, famous, famous cases, saying, Sean, you don't have to pay any more than what's allowable inside the IRS code. That's all Mr. Trump has done.
HANNITY: Otherwise he’d be in a jail.
SCARAMUCCI: Of course. It's a free enterprise system and they're trying to thwart that as well. [Fox News, Hannity, 10/3/16]
Scaramucci: Media were colluding with the Clinton campaign and “becoming an organization of the state.” On October 11, Anthony Scaramucci appeared on Fox Business’ Mornings with Maria to attack “media collusion” with the Clinton campaign:
SCARAMUCCI: What is your reaction then to the media collusion with the Clinton campaign and the media -- the mainstream media now becoming an organization of the state as supposedly the fourth (ph) state?
NAPOLITANO: Well, it's very dangerous, Anthony, for the media to be colluding with any campaign and for the media to be colluding with the government -- particularly dangerous for the media to be colluding with the government.
Now, let's face it. Most of our colleagues in the media do not share the views of those of us at this table and in this building. And they are repelled by Donald Trump and will do everything they can to get him elected and some people here feel the opposite. They repelled Hillary Clinton and will do whatever they can to get her elected. But some of these e-mails are showing a depth and breadth of collusion which is extraordinary. For example, the collusion between the Clinton campaign and the Democrats on the Benghazi committee was a little bit of an eye-opener for me. [Fox Business, Mornings with Maria, 10/11/16, via Nexis]
Scaramucci has trumpeted right-wing media talking points
Scaramucci argued against climate change by pointing out people once thought the Earth was flat. During an interview on CNN’s New Day, Scaramucci falsely equated the overwhelming consensus among scientists that humans contribute to climate change to the overwhelming consensus hundreds of years ago that the Earth was flat, insisting that “we get a lot of things wrong in the scientific community.” From the December 14 edition of New Day:
CHRIS CUOMO (HOST): Well, you’ve got different conversations. You have “Do you accept the science of man's impact on the warming of the planet?” And then you have “Well, what policy considerations do you make in light of that science?” That's one discussion. My first question, though, I'm not completely satisfied on yet, which is, I don't get that intellectual exercise to find out who worked on global warming. Why do you need to know who worked on global warming?
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: I know that the current president believes that the human beings are affecting the climate. There are scientists that believe that that's not happening. I think that for me personally --
CUOMO: The overwhelming consensus in the scientific community is that man's actions have an impact on science. You have to correct that whenever it comes out. Go ahead.
SCARAMUCCI: Chris, there was an overwhelming science that the Earth was flat. And there was an overwhelming science that --
CUOMO: It’s called ignorance. You learn over time.
SCARAMUCCI: We were the center of the world. A hundred percent, you know, we get a lot of things wrong in the scientific community. You and I both know that. I'm not suggesting that we're not affecting the change. I honestly don't know, I'm not a scientist. If you're asking me for my opinion, it's probably a blend of people --
CUOMO: I'm not.
SCARAMUCCI: You're not asking me for my opinion?
CUOMO: I'm not. And I'm not offering my own. I’m telling you that there is a consensus within the scientific community. When you say, “I don't know,” that means you're ignoring the consensus in the scientific community. I’m saying just be straight about it. [Media Matters, 12/14/16]
Scaramucci claimed the unemployment rate under Obama was “fictitious” and said the actual rate was double the reported rate. Scaramucci called the 5.3 percent unemployment statistic “sort of fictitious” and claimed that the real unemployment number was “closer to 11 percent,” which would constitute “a national economic crisis.” From the May 3, 2015, edition of Fox Business Network’s Sunday Morning Futures:
JUDITH MILLER: People are increasingly questioning these job numbers. Yes, supposedly it's getting better, but people are harder and harder pressed, working two and three jobs. I don't -- I think there's something wrong with the way we're measuring these statistics.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: The numbers, there's a lot of fudging in statistics. And so what happens is that U-6 number, which factors in the labor participation rate and the part-timers, Maria, that's closer to 11 percent. At 11 percent, that's a national economic crisis.
MARIA BARTIROMO (HOST): That is a crisis. That is a bad number.
SCARAMUCCI: That's why the Fed is not acting. That 5.3 percent number is sort of fictitious. [Fox Business Network, Sunday Morning Futures, 5/3/15]
Scaramucci suggested people vote for Democrats due to “poverty maintenance dependency.” On August 6, Scaramucci appeared with Sean Hannity to attack Democratic voters as poor and only looking for free handouts:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): All right, so real simple. We have a doubling of the national debt. We have millions more in poverty and on food stamps, labor force participation lowest in all of these years. You have the worst recovery since the '40s, if you want to even call it a recovery, lowest home ownership in 51 years. Hillary's going to do the same. Why would…
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: You left out one thing, Sean. You've created more billionaires. So what typically happens in a left-leaning society is that the rich get very, very rich. They cipher (sic) off the top, and then the lower and middle class continues to struggle.
And so when you have left-leaning policies, you have to judge them by what they actually do, as opposed to their intentions. That's what Milton Friedman always said. So the plan a president -- the plan that Donald Trump…
SCARAMUCCI: ... is putting out is a brilliant plan because it inspires confidence. It's simple. It's easy to understand for the small business person, and it'll give people the opportunity to start consuming again, which will drive the consumption clock and growth in the United States.
HANNITY: You look at Detroit, Baltimore, all Democrat-run, and those cities tend to still vote Democratic!
SCARAMUCCI: Well, now because they're on the poverty maintenance dependency, Sean, and that's why they're voting Democratic because they know they're going to get that lucre (ph) from the government. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/6/16, via Nexis]
Scaramucci compared regulations on financial advisers to the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision. Scaramucci compared a regulation on financial advisors known as the DOL fiduciary rule to the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision from 1857, which held that African Americans were not U.S. citizens. The DOL fiduciary rule would require financial professionals, such as brokers and insurance agents, “to put clients’ interests first” by imposing a fiduciary status -- and the ethical standards of that status -- upon those professionals working on retirement accounts. From the October 18 report from Investment News:
One of Donald Trump's top Wall Street supporters — and a recently named adviser to the campaign — promises that the Republican presidential nominee will rip up a Labor Department investment advice rule if he is elected.
In an aside, Mr. Scaramucci compared the DOL rule to an 1857 Supreme Court ruling which held that African Americans were not U.S. citizens.
“It's about like the Dred Scott decision,” Mr. Scaramucci said.
He made the analogy because he views the DOL rule as discriminatory, Mr. Scaramucci wrote in a follow-up email.
Scaramucci called abortion “the worst form of birth control.” Scaramucci claimed “abortion is like the worst form of birth control” and asked, “why can’t we just be promoting less abortions.” From the October 19, 2016, edition of Fox News’ Hannity:
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: But, why can't we be for less abortions? Abortion is like the worst form of birth control. So, why can't we just be promoting less abortions. Why do we have to even have this conversation? The fact that we’re pro-life or pro-choice I think is terrible. [Fox News, Hannity, 10/19/16]
The headline of this piece has been shortened for clarity.