Scaramucci Named White House Communications Director

Jul 21 2017 | 7:29pm ET

Skybridge Capital founder and key Trump supporter Anthony Scaramucci won’t be strategy chief at the U.S. Export-Import Bank after all, accepting on Friday the post of White House Communications Director and capping a long and circuitous route to a senior post in the Trump Administration. 

A vocal advocate for Trump during the campaign, key fundraiser during the campaign and member of the transition team, Scaramucci arranged to sell his ownership in Skybridge to Chinese conglomerate HNA at the beginning of the year to clear the way for a top job in the new administration. He was initially tapped for a liaison role in the office of public engagement, only to be passed over earlier this year. He was then rumored to be in the running for U.S. ambassador to the OECD in Paris before the Ex-Im post surfaced in late June.

Shortly before Scaramucci’s appointment become official, word also came that Press Secretary Sean Spicer had resigned, reportedly unwilling to continue in his embattled position under the conditions presented to him. In his first appearance after accepting the position early Friday afternoon, Scarammuci named Spicer’s deputy Sarah Sanders as the new press secretary. 

Trump, who is said to like Scaramucci’s prowess as a TV surrogate, was reportedly further impressed when the ex-hedge fund executive was able to wring a rare retraction from CNN related to the ongoing investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 election. 

Scaramucci takes on the role at a tumultuous time for the White House, as widening investigations by special counsel Robert Mueller as well as committees in both houses of Congress suggest the Russia question will remain in the news cycle for at least the rest of the year. During the Friday briefing, Scaramucci said one of his goals is to make sure the president’s message is heard by the public and accurately represented in the media. 

As a fellow wealthy businessman from New York clearly comfortable on TV and able to effectively articulate the administration’s policies, Scaramucci enjoys a level of respect from Trump that is seemingly absent from the president’s relationships with some staffers that hail more from the political establishment. Still, some observers were skeptical about the appointent, citing Scaramucci’s lack of traditional media training or press credentials and the steep learning curve that awaits him when it comes to communicating with executive branch staffers and Congress. 

Scaramucci officially begins his new role in August.

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