In the latest shake-up inside President Trump’s volatile White House, communications director Anthony Scaramucci has been removed from his post just 11 days after landing in the West Wing.
“Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House communications director,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a statement Monday. “Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give chief of staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best.”
Kelly was officially sworn in as Trump’s chief of staff Monday morning, following the sudden departure of former chief of staff Reince Priebus on Friday.
At her daily press briefing Monday afternoon, Sanders confirmed that Scaramucci is no longer serving the administration in any capacity, despite earlier reports that he may assume an alternate post.
“He does not have a role at this time in the Trump administration,” she said.
Sanders told reporters that Kelly “will bring new structure to the White House, and discipline, and strength” and that the retired general “has the full authority to carry out business as he sees fit.”
The spokeswoman said “all staff will report to him.” It remained to be seen whether that blanket statement would apply to Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, or senior strategist Steve Bannon.
A White House source told Yahoo News that Scaramucci was in the West Wing on Monday morning. The source also said the move was a shock to staffers and “came out of the blue.”
The flamboyant financier’s shocking exit came with twists that would not be out of place in a Hollywood version of the White House. Scaramucci’s arrival led to the dismissal of Priebus and press secretary Sean Spicer, whose ouster has been credited to the man who replaced Priebus. The White House statement announcing Scaramucci’s departure was crafted in the office that Spicer, for now, still occupies. Spicer, approached by reporters to confirm early news reports of Scaramucci’s departure, was all smiles and would not say whether he would now be staying on.
While Trump has suffered more turnover among this top aides than any modern president, Scaramucci’s removal seemed to be more a sign of order than chaos. It suggested an attempt by Kelly — a retired four-star Marine general — to impose discipline, and, notably, to enforce a traditional pecking order. Whereas past communications directors have answered to the chief of staff, Scaramucci’s arrangement had him reporting directly to Trump.
In just over six months in office, Trump has shed his first national security adviser (Michael Flynn), communications director (Mike Dubke), press secretary (Sean Spicer), deputy chief of staff (Katie Walsh), deputy national security adviser (K.T. McFarland) and now his chief of staff. His attorney general, Republican former Sen. Jeff Sessions, has been in an increasingly tenuous position, with the president openly criticizing him, but stopping short of firing him or asking him to resign.
The president had announced Friday via Twitter that he was replacing Priebus with Kelly, who had been serving as secretary of homeland security.
Scaramucci, who accepted his short-lived role on July 21, made headlines less than a week after assuming the post with a profanity-laced interview with the New Yorker in which he insulted members of the White House staff, including Priebus, whom he also singled out in attacks on Twitter and suggested he believed the one-time RNC chair had leaked information to the media.
When asked whether Scaramucci’s vulgarity-riddled interview had anything to do with his removal, Sanders said Trump felt the comments were “inappropriate.”
“The president certainly felt that Anthony’s comments were inappropriate for a person in his position,” she said.
The New York Times reported that Scaramucci’s removal came at Kelly’s request. Scaramucci and his spokesperson have not responded to requests for comment from Yahoo News.
Over the weekend, reports surfaced that Scaramucci’s wife had filed for divorce in early July.
While he had already stepped into the public eye, Scaramucci’s official start date was set for Aug. 15, meaning his tenure has ended before it officially began.