People in Washington working to eject Trump: Scaramucci

WASHINGTON • Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who was sacked after just 10 days in the job, said yesterday in a television interview that there were people in Washington working against US President Donald Trump.

"What happens in Washington... is the President is not a representative of the political establishment class, so for whatever reason, the people have made a decision that they want to eject him," he told Mr George Stephanopoulos of ABC News in his first public comments since being fired last month.

Asked to identify the individuals seeking to oust Mr Trump, Mr Scaramucci said he had already "named some names", adding that strategic changes were in place.

His remarks come in the wake of a profanity-laced phone recording with New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza in which Mr Scaramucci launched an attack on then White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. Mr Priebus was sacked shortly after the tirade, while Mr Scaramucci was asked to leave just days later.

"I think the President knows what he's going to do with Steve Bannon," Mr Scaramucci said, referring to Mr Trump's chief strategist, whom he also targeted in the interview.

"Let's leave it up to the President. It is his decision but, at the end of the day, the President has a very good idea of who the leakers are inside the White House. The President has a very good idea of the people who are undermining his agenda, who are serving their own interests," Mr Scaramucci said.

Mr Trump needed to bring in "more loyalists" in order to carry out his agenda, he added.

Defending his language in the phone interview, Mr Scaramucci said he thought it was off the record. He dubbed Mr Lizza's decision to record the call "very deceitful", alleging that while Mr Lizza was not misquoting him, he had mischaracterised Mr Scaramucci.

Queried whether he thought he deserved to be fired, Mr Scaramucci said: "Well, obviously, I wished they would have given me a bar of soap and told me to wash my mouth out in the bathroom and move on... Obviously, I paid the consequences."

He added that he felt he had made "an unforced error".

"It was going to be very hard for me to stay in the job", with the addition of retired general John Kelly as the new chief of staff after Mr Priebus' dismissal, Mr Scaramucci conceded.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2017, with the headline 'People in Washington working to eject Trump: Scaramucci'. Print Edition | Subscribe