Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci – also known as ‘the Mooch’ – was critical of President Trump’s response to the violence caused by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend.
‘With the moral authority of the presidency, you have to call that stuff out,’ Scaramucci told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos during his first post-White House interview, airing Sunday morning on This Week.
On Saturday, Trump condemned hate ‘on many sides,’ which many, including a number of Republicans, interpreted as Trump equating the white supremacists, marching on Charlottesville, with the counter-protesters, of which one was killed.
‘I wouldn’t have recommended that statement,’ said Scaramucci, who held his White House position for just 10 days. ‘I think he would have needed to have been much harsher as it related to the white supremacists.’
Scaramucci also renewed his public tussle with White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, saying the former Breitbart head’s toleration for white nationalists and white supremacists is ‘inexcusable.’
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Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci said Sunday that he thought President Trump should have been ‘much harsher’ in condemning the white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, Virginia
The Mooch was back on television Sunday morning, for an appearance on George Stephanopoulos’ Sunday show, This Week. On Monday, he’ll appear on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Scaramucci pointed to Trump’s National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, who labeled the white supremacists’ actions ‘terrorism,’ as someone who handled the crisis in Charlottesville more aptly.
On Saturday, from his Bedminster resort, President Trump said, ‘We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.’
Trump’s remarks came after 20-year-old James Fields of Ohio allegedly used his Dodge Charger to ram a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring 19 more.
He’s been charged with second degree murder.
Stephanopoulos wanted to know from Scaramucci why Trump would choose those words.
‘He likes doing the opposite of what the media thinks he’s going to do. I think he’s also of the impression that there is hatred on all sides. But I disagree with it,’ Scaramucci replied.
Scaramucci also discussed the statement in the context of the ongoing staff drama that has plagued Trump’s White House.
On Sunday morning, Ivanka Trump went further than her father, calling out white supremacists and neo-Nazis by name
‘I think people are reluctant to tell him the truth,’ Scaramucci said. ‘Maybe Ivanka would do that, you saw her tweet this morning, maybe Jared would do that, but you’ve also got this sort of Bannon-bart influence in there, which I think is a snag on the president.’
On Sunday morning, first daughter Ivanka Trump dashed off two tweets, saying ‘there should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-nazis.’
In his own condemnations, Trump never mentioned white supremacists nor Nazis.
Scaramucci mentioned Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s husband, of having a positive influence, though knocked Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who formerly headed the right-wing news site Breitbart.
‘If the president really wants to execute that legislative agenda, which I think is so promising for the American people … then he has to move away from that sort of Bannon-bart nonsense,’ Scaramucci said.
Bannon, along with now former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, were the two aides Scaramucci ripped into in his now infamous screed, recorded by New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza, which the Mooch today said he thought was off the record.
Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci tweeted that he appreciated George Stephanopoulos’ ‘fairness’ after their Sunday morning back-and-forth. He’s headed to Stephen Colbert’s Late Show Monday night
He continued attacking Bannon today, suggesting Trump knew that he needed to extract the former Breitbart chief from the administration.
‘The whole thing is nonsensical. It’s not serving the president’s interest,’ Scaramucci said of Bannon’s positions, which tend to be nationalist in nature.
Trump, the Mooch argued, needed to be more ‘mainstream’ and get moderates and independents on board with his agenda, so that he could keep establishment Republican senators in his corner too.
A number of Republican senators, both conservative and moderate, condemned the president’s response to Charlottesville yesterday.
‘Mr. President – we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism,’ tweeted Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., chimed in similarly, saying the president needed to define the events as ‘domestic terrorism’ at the hands of white supremacists.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, got more personal when he gave his warning.
‘My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home,’ Hatch wrote on Twitter.
While the Mooch suggested it was Bannon’s ideology that was hurting Trump with members of his own party, he also hinted that the chief strategist may not be around for long.
‘I think the president knows what he’s going to do with Steve Bannon,’ Scaramucci told Stephanopoulos.
Stephanopoulos wanted to know what that is.
‘Well, let’s leave it up to the president. It’s his decision,’ the Mooch replied. ‘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,’ he added.
When Stephanopoulos asked if Bannon was one of those people, Scaramucci replied yes.
Scaramucci was also asked if he thought Bannon was a white nationalist or a white supremacist.
The Mooch said he didn’t know.
‘I think the toleration of it by Steve Bannon is inexcusable,’ Scaramucci added.
Scaramucci also discussed the president’s decision to give him the boot after spending a week and a half on the job.
‘I was probably running too hard and acting more like a corporate CEO than I was say a political operative, and that is my mistake,’ Scaramucci said. ‘And I have to own that.’
Sunday’s appearance with Stephanopoulos marked Scaramucci’s first on-air interview since he left the White House on July 31.
He’ll also appear Monday night on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show.
After his on-air interview with Stephanopoulos, Scaramucci stuck around and did a Facebook Live with ABC’s Rick Klein and then answered questions on his Twitter account as well.
Klein asked the Mooch how Trump might fix the lackluster response.
‘He’s not the kind of guy that walks things back,’ Scaramucci said. ‘I think the way these things get fixed is through actions.’
On Sunday, a White House spokesperson updated the president’s comments.
‘The President said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred. Of course that includes white supremacists, KKK Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups,’ the spokesperson said. ‘He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.’