Anthony Scaramucci (AP/Ariel Schalit)

Big, tough Anthony Scaramucci threatens to sue university newspaper over op-ed

The ex-incoming head of White House communications doesn't seem to understand how the First Amendment works


Jeremy Binckes
November 27, 2017 3:48PM (UTC)

You can take the Trump sycophant out of the White House, but you can't take the Trumpism out of the sycophant.

Former incoming White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci is picking up one of President Donald Trump's worst habits — threatening to sue members of the media for doing their jobs. And this time, that member of the media isn't even a full-timer.

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When we last left him, the man most famous for telling a reporter that Steve Bannon was trying to suck his own c**k was on a speaking tour that saw him lecturing the evangelical students at Liberty University. As well, the Mooch has been working on his own, possibly satirical news outlet, one which recently came under fire for repeatedly bringing up a discredited conspiracy theory about the Holocaust.

All of this served to bother a student at Tufts University, which claims Scaramucci as an alumnus (because irony is not dead, Scaramucci has been on the board of advisors to Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy's graduate school of international affairs since 2016).

In the Tufts Daily, university student Camilo A. Caballero wrote that Scaramucci "demonstrated nothing that would align his values with those of the Fletcher School. His presence on the board instead places the credibility of Fletcher at risk."

Caballero hit Scaramucci's recent highlights, calling him "irresponsible, inconsistent, an unethical opportunist and who exuded the highest degree of disreputability." Harsh words, yes, but nothing so far to file a lawsuit over. Unless you're the Mooch.

Scaramucci claimed that Caballero's column contained "false and defamatory allegations of fact" by "suggesting publicly" that he engaged in "unethical behavior," according to The Boston Globe. One of the "facts" cited by Scaramucci was Caballero's suggestion that the Mooch "sold his soul in contradiction to his own purported beliefs" in order to work at the White House. The November letter also contained this Scaramucci-esque line: "So either back it up or you will hear from my lawyer . . . You may have a difference of opinion from me politically which I respect but you can’t make spurious claims about my reputation and integrity.”

It's not surprising that a Trump disciple who briefly led a virulently anti-media White House would try to shut down an opinion column critical of him. It is surprising, however, that the Fletcher School would keep such a person on the advisory committee. (Then again, considering that Sean Spicer is working a few miles away at Harvard University, maybe it shouldn't be that unexpected.)

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Caballero, who deserves at least some extra credit in any international course about the freedom of speech worldwide, nailed it in his response to the Globe:

“He is someone that uses his money to gain power and his wealth to buy himself into things that will get him attention. And he uses this power as a scare tactic . . . to get people to not exercise their First Amendment rights,” Caballero said. “He’s trying to stop me from exercising my First Amendment right, and that’s plain wrong.”

Refresher: Opinions are protected by the First Amendment. That's what President Donald Trump's lawyers said Trump was doing when he said that a Republican strategist "begged us for a job. We said no and she went hostile. A real dummy!" The strategist, Cheri Jacobus, said that the tweets were false — she never asked for a job — and defamatory — they hurt her business. That case was thrown out. Above that, there's the fact that Scaramucci isn't exactly facing damages as a result of an op-ed in a college newspaper.

But hey, what are facts to Anthony Scaramucci?


Jeremy Binckes

Jeremy Binckes is the senior news editor at Salon.com.

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