Scaramucci and Spicer Extend Their White House 15 Minutes of Fame


As former White House officials continue to haunt Washington, Anthony Scaramucci is enjoying his political afterlife far beyond the capital.

Mr. Scaramucci, the former White House communications director who took Washington on a chaotic, 10-day joy ride before he was fired after delivering an expletive-filled rant to The New Yorker in July, has taken his post-West Wing publicity tour as far as Europe. His pop culture coming-out party has included the creation of a journalist-catnip Twitter account, the Scaramucci Post, and selfie-heavy trips to Rome and Beverly Hills.

This worldwide party tour culminated on Friday in Manhattan with an appearance on the long-running daytime talk show “The View,” where several members of his family sat in the front row and a warm-up comedian named Tom spent the morning coaching audience members to clap, cheer and ask Mr. Scaramucci — “The Mooch,” as he likes to be called — “good happy questions” during the commercial breaks.

“I have some fans in here,” Mr. Scaramucci said with a toothy grin as he took the stage. “Who knew it was going to happen, right?”

For a time it was an open question in Washington whether people in the Trump White House would be able to compete in the free-for-all cash grab of book deals, speaking engagements and TV network contracts that come with proximity to presidential power. Eight months in, the tradition appears alive and well for the Trumpites, who have proliferated on daytime talk shows, late-night shows and attracted millions of followers on Twitter.

That was evident at the Emmy Awards on Sunday, where Sean Spicer, who served in the West Wing as a perpetually beleaguered press secretary, wheeled out a little podium onstage to lampoon his past assessment of the crowd size at Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

Even Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist who has returned to the helm of Breitbart News, took time to drop by “60 Minutes” to indulge his own myth as a bomb thrower — or, in his words, a “street fighter.”

Tevi Troy, who served as the deputy secretary of Health and Human Services during President George W. Bush’s administration and wrote a book about pop culture and the presidency, said that it was relatively rare to see fixtures from a Republican presidential administration receive such high exposure on television and social media.

“I think part of it is, there was a lot of attention on Trump aides in part because of internal divisions,” Mr. Troy said. “The Trump show has attracted a lot of attention and ratings, and people are following this stuff more closely than the maneuverings of White House aides under Bush.”

In the days since his appearance on the Emmys, Mr. Spicer’s re-entry to public life has been as fraught as his time at the White House. He lashed out at some journalists and threatened legal action against a reporter who reached out seeking comment.

In a series of direct Twitter messages, Mr. Scaramucci’s sister, Susan, said that her brother had similar problems with the press.

“The media hasn’t got him right on anything,” she wrote. “Everything is completely false. They have portrayed him completely different then he is. And people are feeding into that and it grows.”

But on Friday on “The View,’’ Mr. Scaramucci, 53, made nice with the news media, claiming he had asked that the cameras be turned on in the White House briefing room because reporters wanted their parents to see them on TV. (Mr. Spicer had many off-camera White House briefings.) Mr. Scaramucci continued to strike a demure tone as the hosts of “The View” asked him questions about his rifts with Mr. Spicer, Mr. Bannon and Reince Priebus, the president’s former chief of staff.

“We have Republican-on-Republican crime all the time,” Mr. Scaramucci said about Mr. Spicer. “I’m not going to hit back at him.”

Mr. Scaramucci, already a tabloid fixture who seems to share his former boss’s flare for creative vocabulary, returned to his usual persona after the commercial break. He called Mr. Spicer “Liar Spice from the Spice Girls.” He also took aim at Mr. Bannon, who received the brunt of his vulgar tirade this summer. On Friday, Mr. Scaramucci said that Mr. Bannon had white nationalist “tendencies” and a “messianic complex.”

“The View” promptly distributed snippets of the drama on social media.

On “The View,” Mr. Scaramucci, who is still awaiting the close of the sale of his SkyBridge Capital hedge fund investment firm, sounded not like a Wall Street guy but like a politician. He tested out some Trumpian phrases on the audience.

“Raise your hand if you love the Washington establishment,” he instructed the crowd. “The swamp has to be drained, ladies and gentlemen.”

People in the crowd, who had been trained to throw up their hands on command, kept their hands down and stayed quiet.

Mr. Scaramucci also addressed criticism that he had supported a president who had made disparaging comments about women and what Joy Behar, a show co-host, called a “crazy” health care repeal effort. At this, audience members, who had been instructed to clap along with their political views, loudly applauded.

“We might be normalizing you,” said Ms. Behar, a friend who was the first person to call Mr. Scaramucci after he had been fired.

“Yeah, maybe,” Mr. Scaramucci fired back. “I don’t think you’ll be able to normalize me. I’m a lot like you.”

Ms. Behar, who declined a request for comment, said Mr. Scaramucci “did great” as she was whisked away from the set. Mr. Scaramucci declined interviews with The New York Times, but when asked in a Twitter message who was running the Twitter account for the nascent Scaramucci Post, Mr. Scaramucci replied with a Santa Claus emoji.

“And these guys,” he added, copying and pasting an image of a pair of goggled Minions from the “Despicable Me” movie.

As long as the public remains interested in palace intrigue, Mr. Scaramucci has said he is interested in a TV career. Earlier this week, he appeared as a host on “TMZ Live” in Los Angeles. There, he speculated about political speaking fees, calling himself “the Zagats” of such things, estimating his own fee to be around $40,000.

To help sort through his post-White House options, Mr. Scaramucci has hired a publicist, Howard Bragman, who runs a publicity company called Fifteen Minutes. The two men have been cagey about unveiling their plans, and have been careful to swat down rumors that the Long Island-bred Wall Street veteran is interested in political office, though he has been privately known to flirt with the idea.

“A person is like a flower,” Mr. Bragman wrote in an email. “You need to watch them unfold to appreciate the beauty.”



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