IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Scaramucci Rising: Anti-Leak Crusader Curries Favor With Trump

Anthony "the Mooch" Scaramucci, the new White House Communications director and anti-leak crusader, has Trump's favor. But for how long?
Image: New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci
New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci speaks to members of the media in the Brady Press Briefing room of the White House in Washington on July 21, 2017.Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

WASHINGTON — Generating headlines is President Donald Trump’s forte, but in less than a week on the job, "Scaramucci" is the name on everyone’s lips.

The rising profiles of staffers have been enough to doom their relationships with the man in the Oval Office before. But for now, the war that new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is waging against "leaks" in the White House is a fight Trump wants to have.

"Remember what he’s prosecuting here," a source close to the White House told NBC News about Scaramucci. "Leaks. The one thing [Trump] hates more than anything."

And the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., seemed supportive of Scaramucci's quest to clamp down on leaks, saying Friday: "All I know is that he isn't/wasn't the leak!!!"

Trump has been outspoken about his desire to rid himself of the leaking that has plagued his administration.

A Justice Department spokeswoman released a statement Thursday night — after Scaramucci tweeted about leaks — saying that "we have seen an astonishing increase in the number of leaks of classified national security information in recent months."

"We agree with Anthony [Scaramucci] that these staggering number of leaks are undermining the ability of our government to function and to protect this country," the statement from DOJ's Sarah Isgur Flores read.

Scaramucci has been in his role less than a week and has been a top headline for almost all of them. He's appeared for fiery interviews on cable news, defending the president and shooting back at his detractors. He's been clear about his love for and loyalty to the president.

Scaramucci has also stoked palace intrigue and further inflamed already-ongoing internal battles.

In scathing comments, Scaramucci called now-departed Chief of StaffReince Priebus "a f------ paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac," in a phone conversation with the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, predicting that the embattled chief of staff would soon resign.

The two men have long harbored bad blood, with Priebus trying to block Scaramucci for West Wing jobs both at the start of the administration and as recently as last week when Trump picked the man known as "Mooch" to head up a lagging White House communications team, according to sources inside and outside of the White House familiar with the situation.

On Friday afternoon, Scaramucci could be seen boarding Air Force One with his "brother" in arms, Priebus, en route to a speech with the president in New York.

However, by early Friday evening, Priebus was out and Trump tapped Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly for the job. And Scaramucci's White House arrival also helped usher in the departure of embattled Press Secretary Sean Spicer, a longtime Priebus ally.

Scaramucci’s rant also included shots at top White House adviser Steve Bannon, whom Scaramucci accused of trying to raise his status through his proximity to Trump.

"I’m not trying to build my own brand off the f------ strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country," Scaramucci told the New Yorker.

His expletive-laden tirade about his White House co-workers grated some in Trump’s orbit, the same source said, calling the comments "embarrassing."

That Scaramucci says he's not in the White House to brand-build could be his saving grace. In a world that's all about Trump, insiders are quick to note aides who saw their public personas elevated were seen to have then drawn Trump’s ire for stealing the spotlight.

And it's possible that the communications director has had enough of the spotlight's glare for now — on Friday, organizers confirmed that Scaramucci's scheduled appearance this weekend at Politicon, a political gathering in Pasadena, California, was scrapped.