Anthony Scaramucci (Getty/Mike Coppola)

Scaramucci disinvited from Florida Republican fundraiser for calling Trump's tweets "racist"

“The Mooch” denounced Trump's comments as un-American — and warned they could hurt his re-election bid in 2020


Shira Tarlo
July 18, 2019 5:10PM (UTC)

Anthony Scaramucci, the financier who lasted 11 days as President Donald Trump's White House communications director before being fired, was disinvited from a Florida Republican fundraiser after he denounced Trump's "racist and unacceptable" tweets directed at a group of newly-elected congresswomen of color.

"He suggested that the president's comments were racist and that he was becoming a racist. Our board was infuriated," said Michael A. Barnett, the Palm Beach County GOP chairman, home to Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

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"We believe the tweets were not racist, the president is not racist and that Scaramucci's comments were unfair," Barnett, who is African American, told Politico, which first broke. the story.

The New York hedge-fund millionaire, nicknamed "The Mooch," responded: "I am sorry that I was cancelled. Mike Barnett must like and condone racist comments. Someone with more courage and less political expediency would call it for what it is and ask it to stop."

Scaramucci first denounced Trump's tweets aimed at the four high-profile freshmen lawmakers who make up "the squad" — Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — on Tuesday, and has repeated his criticisms of the president's remarks on Twitter and in cable news interviews.

He predicted Thursday that the president's comments could help him secure a second term in office. Scaramucci also warned that Trump could quickly lose "a glacier of support" for his 2020 re-election bid if he refuses to tone down his rhetoric, which the former White House staffer decried as inconsistent with the nation's values.

"They won last time. So it may be a winning campaign strategy, but it is against the idealistic values of America," Scaramucci told CNN.

"And so what ends up happening is," he continued, "it's such a turnoff to a large group of people that you are running a risk that 15 percent of the people that you want to get you through that electoral map and back into the presidency say: 'You know what? I love the policies, but I don't like the ‘send her back’ rhetoric. I don't like the racist rhetoric of sending people back to the homes that they came from.'"

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Trump this week has steadily escalated his incendiary criticism of “the squad” since first tweeting Sunday that they should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

Three of the four legislators — Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley and Tlaib — were born in the U.S., while Omar, a refugee from Somalia, has been an American citizen since she was 17.

Trump continued his verbal volleys at a campaign rally Wednesday evening in North Carolina, provoking the crowd at Greenville's East Carolina University to break out in chants of "send her back," aimed at Omar, even after the House of Representatives voted Tuesday on a resolution condemning the president over his comments.

The resolution twice refers to "racist comments" by Trump but does not call the president a racist. It says the president's remarks have "legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color."

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Trump's comments about the congresswomen have spurred a political firestorm on Capitol Hill, where Democrats and some Republican lawmakers have rebuked the president for his remarks and denounced them as racist.

Lawmakers across the aisle swiftly condemned the "send her back" chant Wednesday night.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. said he was "disgusted" by the chant, which he called "ugly" and "wrong."

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Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, tweeted that he "struggled with the 'send her back' chant tonight referencing Rep. Omar."

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., accused Trump of "stoking the most despicable and disturbing currents in our society. And that very hatred and racism fuels him."

Omar responded to the rally on Wednesday night, saying, "I am where I belong, at the people's house and you're just gonna have to deal!"

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Ocasio-Cortez chimed in Thursday morning, writing on Twitter: "To all those scared for our future: we can get through this better than we started."

"We have the power to triumph over hatred, division and bigotry," she continued. "But decency cannot be taken for granted. It is something we must create, advance, and actively work to build each and every day."

Scaramucci, who insisted Thursday that he still supports the president, said he would like for Trump "to conform that behavior" and alleged that Trump "has friends of his in the White House that are working for him that are telling reporters that these tweets are racist."

And the former aide to the president issued a warning. "If he continues on that path, he's going to lose like a glacier of support [that] is going to break off and float away from him in a way that he doesn't fully understand,” he said of Trump.

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Scaramucci, who said Trump is "not a racist" but called his tweets "racist," argued that if the president continues down the current path, he would lose his support.

"It won't be just me," he added. "There will be a very large coalition of people that have worked for him in the past — that are working for him now — that will say, 'That is un-American.'"

"If you're weighing the policies and you're weighing that strategy versus what America stands for, you're making a very big mistake,” Scaramucci added.

Watch Scaramucci's full interview with CNN here:

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Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

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