Anthony Scaramucci: ‘Reince is a f*****g paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac’

Trump’s communications director attacks chief of staff Priebus and senior adviser Bannon in rant

Open warfare has erupted within the White House, as Donald Trump's new communications director Anthony Scaramucci attacks senior Washington officials in a scathing rant using vulgar language, published in The New Yorker. Video: Reuters

 

Tensions within the White House were laid bare on Thursday following the publication of a rant by newly appointed communications director Anthony Scaramucci directed at White House chief of staff Rence Priebus.

Ryan Lizza, a reporter with the New Yorker, released details of a conversation he had with Mr Scaramucci on Wednesday, after the communications director phoned him.

“Reince is a f*****g paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Mr Scaramucci said, according to Mr Lizza’s account of the conversation. The former hedge fund manager also spoke in crude terms about Steve Bannon, Mr Trump’s senior adviser.

Mr Scaramucci responded on Twitter. “I sometimes use colorful language,” he said. “I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @RealDonaldTrump’s agenda.”

The conversation between the White House’s chief communications official and the New Yorker journalist took place after Mr Lizza tweeted on Wednesday that President Donald Trump was having dinner with Mr Scaramucci, Fox News presenter Sean Hannity, and an ex- Fox News executive Bill Shine in the White House.

Mr Scaramucci then phoned Mr Lizza to demand who his source was, according to Mr Lizza’s account of the event.

Mr Scaramucci appeared to accuse the president’s chief of staff, Mr Preibus, of leaking to the media. Mr Scaramucci suggested in a tweet sent on Wednesday night - which was later deleted - that his colleague may have leaked a document outlining his financial disclosures.

Mr Scaramucci called in to a CNN morning show on Thursday, where he spoke live on air for 30 minutes. “We have had odds. We have had differences,” Mr Scaramucci said of Mr Priebus.

“When I said we were brothers from the podium, that’s because we’re rough on each other. Some brothers are like Cain and Abel. Other brothers can fight with each other and get along. I don’t know if this is reparable or not. That will be up to the president.”

Asked during Thursday’s White House press briefing whether the president still had confidence in his chief of staff, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders replied: “We all serve at the pleasure of the president.

“This is a White House that has a lot of different perspectives because the president hires the very best people . . . unlike previous administrations, this isn’t group think.”

Mr Scaramucci (53), a financier from Long Island, was appointed as White House communications director by Mr Trump last Friday, prompting the resignation of Sean Spicer as press secretary. Mr Spicer was seen as an ally of Mr Priebus - both worked together at the Republican National Committee before Mr Trump’s election victory.

The tensions between Mr Scaramucci and Mr Priebus - who is understood to have disapproved of the former banker’s surprise appointment - is the latest personnel issue to engulf the White House.

Questions about the future of attorney general Jeff Sessions have also emerged in recent days after Mr Trump publicly disparaged the former Arkansas senator several times in interviews and on Twitter.

There have also been rumours about Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s future, though Mr Tillerson said he would stay “as long as the President lets me.”

Mr Sessions, one of Mr Trump’s earliest Republican supproters, gave his first reaction to Mr Trump’s comments on Thursday, describing them as “kind of hurtful.”

“Well it’s kind of hurtful, but the President of the United States is a strong leader,” Mr Sessions said in an interview with Fox News. He went on to defend the president.

“He is determined to move this country in the direction he believes it needs to go to make us great again, and he has had a lot of criticisms - and he is steadfastly determined to get his job done, and he wants all of us to do our jobs, and that’s what I intend to do.”

Republicans have rallied around Mr Sessions in the wake of Mr Trump’s persistent criticism of him, with senior Republican senators such as Lindsey Graham defending their former colleague in the Senate.

Mr Trump has questioned Mr Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation, describing the attorney general as “very weak” and “beleaguered.”

He has also repeatedly asked on Twitter why Mr Sessions is not investigating Hillary Clinton and clamping down on leaking.

In the Fox interview, Mr Sessions also indicated his intention to take a tough stance on leakers. “Some people need to go to jail,” he said. “If we can make cases they can go to jail.

“The president has every right to ask the department to be more aggressive in that, and we intend to.”