Froma Harrop: Trump’s New York rat pack grows
Anthony Scaramucci is two things Jeff Sessions is not. One, he is a New Yorker. Two, he is a New Yorker who made a bundle in finance.
It matters not that the new White House communications director once called Donald Trump a “hack politician” on Fox Business. Or that Scaramucci has said he is for gay marriage, opposes the death penalty, doesn’t want a wall with Mexico, is pro-choice and worries about climate change.
OK, so he gave money to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and tweeted: “I like Hillary. Have to go with the best athlete.” Big deal. All is forgiven.
“I’m a New Yorker. He’s a New Yorker,” Scaramucci said on TV. “We’re allowed to go at it a little bit.”
The former senator from Alabama is definitely not a New Yorker. That Sessions gave up much, his dignity included, to loyally serve the president also does not matter. Sessions played a key role in getting Trump elected, herding so-called social conservatives into a libertine’s camp. Trump held his first big rally in Mobile. He returned to the Azalea City shortly after the election to soak up more adoration.
Trump’s public humiliation of Sessions did expose the one-sided nature of their relationship. Trump told The New York Times, of all people, that he regrets making Sessions the attorney general. He slammed Sessions for giving “bad answers” during his confirmation hearing. Sessions took it on the chin.
Trump cannot get past Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe. Of course, Sessions shouldn’t have lied or “forgotten” about his contacts with Russians during the campaign. But once the cat got out, he took the proper step of taking himself out of the investigation.
Some folks back home in Alabama seem vexed at the brutality of Trump’s attack. Ozark Mayor Bob Bunting cannot compute Trump’s rage at Sessions for recusing himself. “Trump expects the attorney general to not do the right thing for the country?” he said to Politico.
To which we ask the mayor, What ballpark do you think we’re playing in?
There was always a New York rat pack element to this administration, more social than partisan. But it mostly involved guys close to the money. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin once worked for a hedge fund run by liberal financier George Soros. And Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, is a registered Democrat. Both are Goldman Sachs alumni.
Characters are welcome. What’s not to like about a communications director whose nickname is “The Mooch”? Asked whether he’ll tell the truth, Scaramucci offered a wiseguy reply: “I hope you can feel that from me just from my body language.”
Scaramucci is an interesting choice because this showboating New Yorker has been tasked with talking to the rest of the country. He’s also why Sean Spicer quit as White House spokesman.
Rhode Islander Spicer seems to suffer when he repeats Trump’s lies. The Mooch will probably have fun doing it.
Scaramucci is said to be a threat to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. Goodbye to Wisconsin?
Many make the mistake of confusing “Trump country” with the country Trump inhabits. The former is where the people who still buy his act reside. Conservatives such as Sessions serve as satellite staff to sell his bizarre explanations to the faithful.
The latter is Manhattan and Washington, with a winter annex in Palm Beach.
In a fabulous gesture over the weekend, Scaramucci directly addressed the president during a television interview. “We’re going to get your agenda out into the heartland,” he said in his Long Island accent. Bet he can dance, too.
Mooch, the rat pack welcomes you to “the Summit.”