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"Bannonbart." Ex-White House comms chief attests to grip of white supremacy over Trump

Anthony Scaramucci’s tenure as Donald Trump’s White House communications director was quite brief, but it still gave him a strong sense of the firm grip that white supremacist ideology has on this administration. On ABC’s This Week, Scaramucci expressed dismay over the hold that someone like chief strategist Steve Bannon, as well as Bannon’s former […]

By Eric Boehlert - August 13, 2017
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Former White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci
Former White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci

Anthony Scaramucci’s tenure as Donald Trump’s White House communications director was quite brief, but it still gave him a strong sense of the firm grip that white supremacist ideology has on this administration.

On ABC’s This Week, Scaramucci expressed dismay over the hold that someone like chief strategist Steve Bannon, as well as Bannon’s former home of Breitbart News, has over Trump.

Like many others, Scaramucci told host George Stephanopoulos that he disagreed with Trump’s weak and bizarre statement on the outbreak of white supremacist violence over the weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“I believe he needed to be much harsher as it related to the white supremacism and nature of that,” he declared, adding that the “moral authority of the presidency” demands that the one holding that office “call that stuff out.”

And he particularly called out the insidious influence of Bannon and Breitbart, noting they may be partly to blame for Trump’s half-hearted response.

When Stephanopoulos asked if there was anyone in the White House who would tell Trump the statement had been a mistake, Scaramucci noted that most of Trump’s staff “may be reluctant to tell him the truth.”

“You also got this sort of ‘Bannonbart’ influence in there, which I think is a snag on the president,” he stated. And he insisted that Trump has to “move away from that sort of ‘Bannonbart’ nonsense.”

And he implied that one way to accomplish that would be to remove Bannon from the White House altogether — though he demurred on saying anything definitive about what Trump’s thoughts on that notion may be.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is there anyone in the White House right now who said, ‘Boy, you just made a real mistake there?’

SCARAMUCCI: I think people are probably reluctant to tell him the truth. Maybe Ivanka would do that, you saw her tweet this morning. Maybe Jared would do that. But you also got this sort of ‘Bannonbart’ influence in there, which I think is a snag on the president. If the president really wants to execute that legislative agenda that I think is so promising for the American people, the lower middle class people and the middle class people, then he has to move away from that sort of ‘Bannonbart’ nonsense.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You mean Bannon and Breitbart?

SCARAMUCCI: Yes, the whole thing is nonsensical, it’s not serving the president’s interests. He’s got to move more to the mainstream, he’s got to be more into where the moderates are and independents are, George, that love the president. And if he does that, he’ll have a very successful legislative agenda that he’ll be able to execute. And if he doesn’t do that, you’re going to see this inertia and you’re going to see this resistance from more of the establishment senators that he needs to curry favor with.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve been tough on Steve Bannon. Does he have to go?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I think the president knows what he’s going to do with Steve Bannon.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Which is what?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, let’s leave it up to the president. It’s his decision. But I mean, at the end of the day, I think the president has a very good idea of who the leakers are inside the White House. The president has a very good idea of the people that are undermining his agenda that are serving their own interests.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They include Steve Bannon?

SCARAMUCCI: Look, I mean, we’re not on a phone call, and a taped phone call. And so, we’re on live television, and so I would prefer to let the president make the decisions that the president need to make.

Putting aside the fact that Trump executing his “legislative agenda” would not, in fact, be “so promising for the American people” — or for Trump’s polling numbers — it is still crucial and troubling to note that one of the forces driving what does or does not get done in this White House is the specter of white supremacy in its very halls.

Trump cannot denounce in the public square what he refuses to disassociate himself from in his own space.

Scaramucci no longer has the ear of the Executive Branch. Perhaps if he makes these same statements on Fox News, Trump will pay attention.


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