Alan Zendell, August 19, 2019
That’s how bad it’s gotten. Short of the Devil, I’d accept help from anyone. But the Mooch?
Today, Anthony Scaramuchi, who served as Donald Trump’s Communications Director for eleven days, two summers ago, announced that he’s forming a coalition to undermine Trump’s bid for re-election. He told CNN and The Hill that he’s creating a team of former Trump Cabinet Officers who feel “exactly the same way I do.” It almost sounds like the theme of a reality TV show − Survivor: Politics 2020.
On one hand, I’m excited by the possibility this raises. I’ve believed from the moment Trump exploded onto the political scene in 2015 that people like him must lose in the end. You can only make so many enemies for so long before it comes back to haunt you. Combine that with Trump’s narcissism and you have a perfect storm for mutiny. Trump has impugned the integrity and the intelligence of a lot of powerful people over the last four years.
Given that, his fatal flaw could be likening the presidency to the business world, where having the most money often carries the day. Whenever Trump stabbed a business associate in the back, trashed a subcontractor, defrauded customers, or destroyed a city (viz: Atlantic City, NJ) he and his expensive lawyers went to court. Sometimes he won, but often he lost and paid millions in compensation or fines. Once the legal action was settled, he walked away from it and didn’t look back. But that was business; it’s different in politics.
Among Trump’s delusions is that he’s the smartest person in every room, and that he can defeat anyone one-on-one just by being shameless and intimidating. His worst misconception is believing that when he vanquishes someone in the political arena they just slink off into bushes like wounded animals. He may be about to learn how wrong he is.
Trump loves to flit from victim to victim and then forget them. But powerful politicians hold grudges that have half-lives longer than most radioactive isotopes. People like Mitch McConnell, who Trump savaged repeatedly in 2017, have memories like elephants. Once Republicans start showing some backbone and speaking out, you can be sure he’ll join right in tearing at Trump’s political carcass. But…
There’s always a but, isn’t there. In this case it’s the Mooch himself. He and Trump are very similar in many ways. They’ve both made a lot of money in business. They both love being on television. They were both Democrats who supported Bill Clinton and then Hillary Clinton when she ran for the Senate.
After that, Scaramuchi and Trump had different political trajectories. Scaramuchi supported Barack Obama, but split with him over his attacks on Wall Street after the 2008 economic crisis. Scaramuchi became a Republican, but when Fox News convinced Trump to run for president on a platform built around nativism and a racist approach to immigration, the Mooch criticized him for it. Then, when Trump won, he joined the President’s transition team.
Why? Today, the Mooch told the Washington Post that “despite his warts … I thought he could be the reset button Washington needed to break through the partisan sclerosis. [But] the negatives of Trump’s demagoguery now clearly outweigh the positives of his leadership, and it is imperative that Americans unite to prevent him from serving another four years in office.”
One might argue that turning on the President after supporting him and serving, however briefly, in his administration is Trump-like behavior. Perhaps it is. After all, most of what we know about Anthony Scaramucci is the public persona he presents. I want to believe that there’s a real difference between them, however. It’s clear that everything Trump does is out of self-interest, but it’s hard to imagine how Scaramucci profits from this. I believe he’s sincere when he says he wants to be part of the solution to the Trump debacle.
He predicts that by mid-to-late Fall, he’ll have a consortium of former Cabinet members aligned to speak out about Trump’s instability and danger to the nation, though he declined to mention who they might be. Just imagine the impact former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Chief of Staff General John Kelly could have if they spoke out in unison against Trump’s re-election.
I’m thinking about that right now and there’s a big smile on my face.