Anthony Scaramucci (AP/Alex Brandon)

Anthony Scaramucci lashes out at Steve Bannon, calls him "alt-right"

Anthony Scaramucci is still lashing out at Steve Bannon


Matthew Sheffield
August 14, 2017 5:10PM (UTC)

Anthony Scaramucci, the former hedge fund manager who very briefly served as the White House communications director, is continuing his feud against President Donald Trump's top adviser Steve Bannon. The man known as "The Mooch" is essentially blaming the ex-Breitbart News CEO for the controversy that's surrounded the president for his weekend-long refusal to denounce white nationalists after one was accused of murdering a woman with his car over the weekend.

In a Sunday interview with ABC News, Scaramucci essentially called Bannon a member of the white supremacist "alt-right" movement. He also accused Bannon of tolerating racists, an offense which Scaramucci deemed "inexcusable."

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"There are elements of the alt-right — I mean people are not going to like me saying this — there are elements of the alt-right that I think have actually been quite beneficial," Scaramucci said, in an effort to damn Bannon with faint praise as he called the former Breitbart News chief a "great speech writer."

Later on in the interview, Scaramucci slightly backed off on his accusation.

“I’ve never sat down with Steve Bannon and said, ‘Hey are you a white nationalist or a white supremacist?’ But I think the toleration of it by Steve Bannon is inexcusable,” he said.

Scaramucci argued that Trump should have been more vocal in condemning racism in light of the neo-fascist rally in Charlottesville, Va., which resulted in three deaths.

"He needed to be way tougher with the white supremacists thing. Anybody that has experienced any level of racism, any level of prejudice, knows that this is disgusting. It's un-American and it cannot be tolerated," he said.

Scaramucci was fired last month after only 10 days on the job, after New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza reported on an on-the-record conversation that the two had in which Scaramucci used vulgarities to criticize Bannon and other Trump figures.

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In his ABC interview, the former communications director also accused Bannon of leaking confidential information to reporters.

"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 who are undermining his agenda that are serving their own interests," he said.

Scaramucci, who supported Democrats before flipping to Trump shortly before the 2016 election, also urged the president to move toward the center with his policies.

“He's got to move more into the mainstream. He's got to be more into where the moderates are and the independents . . . that love the president, so if he does that he'll have a very successful legislative agenda,” the former communications director said, calling the nationalist-oriented Trump wing of the party "a snag on the president."

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Bannon's former employees at Breitbart News responded sharply to Scaramucci's criticism, running an article headlined "Anthony blows whatever was left of his credibility with Trump’s base." In the piece, written by political editor Matthew Boyle, the site accused Scaramucci of being a turncoat.

"The tune he is singing now is in almost every way exactly the opposite of what he was saying just a few weeks ago, during the beginning of his brief tenure as White House communication director," Boyle wrote.

 

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Matthew Sheffield

A writer, web developer, and former tv producer, Matthew Sheffield covers politics, media, and technology for Salon. You can email him via m.sheffield@salon.com or follow him on Twitter.

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