That was fast. Anthony Scaramucci is out as White House communications director before he could even really begin communicating Donald Trump’s message. He was a kind of Trump mini-me, down to mastering his hand movements. But his wildly objurgatory language over the past week–directed primarily at former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and senior aide Steve Bannon — was apparently enough to ensure that he got the heave-ho. Scaramucci had said that it was Cain versus Abel between him and Priebus, but it was more like Professor Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes grappling with each other as they plunged to their mutual deaths over the Reichenbach Falls. At least Priebus, whom Trump had apparently tasked to swat flies in the Oval Office, must be deriving some satisfaction over Scaramucci’s rapid fall from grace.
The move is widely being scored as a victory for John F. Kelly, who is Trump’s new chief of staff, not to mention Bannon whom Scaramucci had vividly described as devoting his waking hours to performing self-fellatio on the White House premises. But the Trump family was apparently also taken aback by Scaramucci’s zest for the limelight, and it was never going to end well for the Mooch who bragged about his bespoke suits and strutted about in his blue-tinted aviator glasses.
Whether Kelly can truly turn around the White House, however, remains an open question. More heads would have to roll. Javanka, as they are known, would have to subordinate themselves to Kelly. For now, numerous rival power centres remain, and Trump himself revels in chaos.
Trump faces a lot of tough decisions. The debt ceiling looms, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says Congress has until September 29 to raise it. Failure to do so could result in an economic calamity. Meanwhile, North Korea keeps testing new missiles, Russia is expelling American diplomats and China is flexing its military muscles. In Foreign Policy, Max Boot declares, “Trump may be the first president ever to have become a lame duck with 3 and a half years remaining in his term of office.”
This is the fate that Trump is trying to avoid. So far, one thing seems clear: the circus that is the Trump administration is unlikely to end anytime soon. Maybe Trump isn’t getting much accomplished politically, but he is providing endless entertainment. The New York Times, for example, just hit a record number of digital subscriptions. If Trump exits the presidency early, the biggest loser might be the media that loves to decry him.