Trump is ‘a full-blown lunatic’, says ex-handler Scaramucci

Ex-press secretary says working for president was a mistake but he will be hard to beat

Donald Trump's former spokesman Anthony Scaramucci has said that in a half-century there will be "head-scratching" at the US Senate's acquittal of the president in his impeachment trial.

The one-time press secretary-turned-Trump critic told students on a visit to Trinity College Dublin that the US president would be re-elected “pretty handily” if the election were held now.

However, there were 270 days until the US presidential election in November, which was “like 500 years in Trump world”, when more damaging revelations about Trump could emerge, he said.

The former White House press secretary expects “a waterfall of lawless activity” to emerge in the wake of Mr Trump’s acquittal on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of the US congress.


“He is a full-blown lunatic and so anything could happen over the next 270 days,” he told The Irish Times before speaking at the University Philosophical Society, a Trinity debating society.

The Republican president was found not guilty by the Republican-controlled Senate this week over his attempts to force Ukraine to investigate a domestic political rival, Democrat Joe Biden.

Mr Scaramucci, nicknamed “The Mooch”, famously lasted just 11 days as Trump’s spokesman in July 2017. He was fired for insulting colleagues in a profanity-laced conversation with a reporter.

The 54-year-old New York financier-turned-political consultant joked with Trinity students during his lunchtime appearance at “the Phil” on Thursday that he likes to tell his therapist his stint in the White House was 954,000 seconds “to make myself feel better”.


Explaining his decision to join Trump’s administration, he said he and others who worked the White House suffered from “Trump employment syndrome”; “we held our noses” at the “reprehensible” things the US president was doing and saying. He now accepted responsibility and criticism that he was “misguided”.

“I made the mistake of working for President Trump. Trust me, in five or six years – you mark my words – you will hear a litany of people say, if they are honest with themselves, ‘Wow, I really did make a very big mistake,’ ” he said.

If Mr Trump is to be defeated in November, an “off-ramp” was needed to make people “comfortable with the idea they can admit that they made a mistake”, he said.

Mr Scaramucci said he planned to campaign against Trump in Irish- and Italian-American and other “ethnic precincts” of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan to try to win back the 3-5 per cent of voters who narrowly elected the US president in those three states in 2016.

The Democratic Party needed a "moderate" nominee to beat Trump, he said. He cited Pete Buttigieg, the gay former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and the billionaire former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg as two candidates who could beat the president.

Car crash

Mr Scaramucci described his former boss as a “walking verbal car crash” who people were “rubbernecking” on television to watch him “crash the car into the wall”.

A successful presidential challenger had to overcome that entertainment, he said.

“You have to figure out how to get somebody in there that can take the joke, that can speak to people in a way they understand and that can get their eyeballs through to something bigger than President Trump,” he said.

“It is going to be hard.”

Asked about this weekend’s Irish general election, Mr Scaramucci said parties such as Fine Gael seeking a third term in government were like “rock’n’roll bands” who “burn themselves out over five to eight years”.

“Why? You are traveling all the time, high intensity. You have got egos going that are, like, mad,” he said.

“And so I would recommend to people: two terms are enough.”

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent