When your newly-minted White House Communications Director prefers to communicate in…ahem…creative terms, he may not be long for the position. When that same comms director appears to assume that conversations with reporters are automatically off-the-record—well, same result.
This is the cautionary tale of Anthony Scaramucci—The Mooch—who was ousted as the White House Communications Director less than 10 days after his slick arrival to the press room podium. Scaramucci’s initial appearance was one of admiration and praise for the President, and he seemed to ingratiate himself to media types alike. Words like “unflappable,” “professional,” and “effective messenger” were used by talking heads across the news talk show spectrum.
And then the Mooch lost his cool to a reporter.
Scaramucci’s now-infamous tirade to The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza (caution: extremely strong language) ignited another White House firestorm on Friday, leading to some lukewarm defenses of Scaramucci’s statements.
The Mooch claimed that the conversation was off-the-record at the time—Ryan Lizza insists that the White House Comms Director never issued such a caveat.
Rule One of top-level communications professionals: you should understand the common rules regarding on-the-record conversations. A neophyte in conversations with reporters does not a communications director make.
So, along with Mike Flynn, Scaramucci joins an inauspicious group whose White House tenure was shorter than a season. So who’s up next? Hopefully someone who understands the interviewer/interviewee relationship.