In Context: Tirade against Reince Priebus

Anthony Scaramucci, communications director for President Donald Trump, caused a stir with comments he made about Trump's then-chief of staff, Wisconsinite Reince Priebus. (USA Today)
Anthony Scaramucci, communications director for President Donald Trump, caused a stir with comments he made about Trump's then-chief of staff, Wisconsinite Reince Priebus. (USA Today)
Anthony Scaramucci, communications director for President Donald Trump, caused a stir with comments he made about Trump's then-chief of staff, Wisconsinite Reince Priebus. (USA Today)
Anthony Scaramucci, communications director for President Donald Trump, caused a stir with comments he made about Trump's then-chief of staff, Wisconsinite Reince Priebus. (USA Today)

Washington was abuzz about Anthony Scaramucci, the new communictions director for President Donald Trump, and Reince Priebus, the Wisconsinite who was Trump’s chief of staff -- until being replaced July 28, 2017.

A profanity-laced tirade, the former Wall Street financier was said to have launched against Priebus, the generally mild-mannered former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

So, what exactly was said?

Let’s go to In Context, our periodic feature for fleshing out sound bites that get widespread attention.

Here are excerpts from the blockbuster report in the New Yorker by reporter Ryan Lizza, which was posted a day before Trump replaced Priebus with John Kelly, Trump’s secretary of homeland security.

Lizza reported that Scaramucci had called him wanting to know who had leaked information to Lizza about a dinner Scaramucci had had at the White House with Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, conservative talk show host Sean Hannity and former Fox News executive Bill Shine.

In Scaramucci’s view, the fact that word of the dinner had reached a reporter was evidence that his rivals in the West Wing, particularly Priebus, were plotting against him. While they have publicly maintained that there is no bad blood between them, Scaramucci and Priebus have been feuding for months ….

Meanwhile, several damaging stories about Scaramucci have appeared in the press, and he blamed Priebus for most of them ….

"I’ve asked people not to leak things for a period of time and give me a honeymoon period," Scaramucci said. "They won’t do it." He was getting more and more worked up, and he eventually convinced himself that Priebus was my source.


"They’ll all be fired by me," he said. "I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he’ll be asked to resign very shortly." The issue, he said, was that he believed Priebus had been worried about the dinner because he hadn’t been invited. "Reince is a f------ paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac," Scaramucci said. He channelled Priebus as he spoke: "‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the f------ thing and see if I can (expletive)-block these people the way I (expletive)-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’" (Priebus did not respond to a request for comment.)

Scaramucci was particularly incensed by a Politico report about his financial-disclosure form, which he viewed as an illegal act of retaliation by Priebus …

He insisted to me that Priebus had leaked the document, and that the act was "a felony" ….

Scaramucci reiterated that Priebus would resign soon, and he noted that he told Trump that he expected Priebus to launch a campaign against him. "He didn’t get the hint that I was reporting directly to the president," he said. "And I said to the president here are the four or five things that he will do to me."

("Reince is a good man," Trump told reporters in the White House after Priebus' removal was announced. "John Kelly will do a fantastic job. General Kelly has been a star, done an incredible job thus far, respected by everybody. He's a great, great American. Reince is a good man." Speculation had been rampant for weeks about the departure of Priebus. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported, while Priebus had been portrayed by some as a Washington insider upon taking the job, his experience in government and Washington was limited. He was an attorney practicing in Milwaukee when he rose from state GOP chairman to national GOP chairman. He didn’t arrive in the nation’s capital until 2011.)