Anthony Scaramucci, the former Goldman Sachs executive fired from his post as White House communications director after ten days, unloaded on White House Chief of Staff John Kelly Thursday, accusing Kelly of blocking his access to President Donald Trump.
“Does the president want to lose everyone because of General Jackass?” Scaramucci asked in a Thursday Bloomberg News interview.
Scaramucci claims Kelly has kept him from seeing the president both at the White House and at January’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he has been trying to get Trump’s ear over his deal to sell his holdings in hedge fund management firm SkyBridge Capital to a Chinese conglomerate, the HNA Group. It was the same firm at the center of a CNN fake news scandal in which the left-leaning network falsely claimed Scaramucci had suspicious links with Russians. The false report led to the resignation of a CNN reporter and two editors.
The deal is now pending approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), the U.S. Government organ that examines the sale of significant U.S. assets to foreigners.
“Let’s see what [Kelly] says about that,” Scaramucci told Bloomberg. “That’ll be the next food fight. ‘Say, his company is before CFIUS right now. Are you going to block that deal?’”
An anonymous White House official denied Scaramucci’s insinuations to Bloomberg, saying he had not been blacklisted from the White House. The official also denied Kelly had anything to do with Scaramucci not getting into the event at Davos with Trump, or that Kelly was allowing any personal dispute between the men to affect the CFIUS review.
In his Bloomberg interview, Scaramucci continued to hit Kelly on other matters, most pointedly his support of now-alleged domestic abuser Rob Porter. He called Kelly a “bad dude” and added, “Fear and intimidation doesn’t work in a civilian organization. If he had any honor he’d resign.”
Scaramucci has frequently attacked Kelly over this and other matters since his departure from the White House, calling for his ouster on several occasions. “You have no idea how many people from the White House have texted me this morning saying thank you for saying that,” Scaramucci said in reference to a television appearance in which he slammed Kelly. “Hopefully the president will wake up and knock off the nonsense.”
Kelly is the man seen as most responsible for dismissing Scaramucci last July after the communications director gave a disastrous, expletive-filled interview with the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza. Scaramucci had supposedly claimed he had no need to go through then White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and would report directly to the president. Priebus was fired, Kelly was brought in to replace him, and, in one of his first official acts in his new role, Kelly recommended Scaramucci be fired, cementing him as the shortest-lived White House Communications Director ever.
“What happened was the general came in, Gen. Kelly, and he basically was repulsed by what Scaramucci said and how he said it and what he said about his colleagues,” Reagan White House Communications Director Pat Buchanan said at the time.
Kelly, a former U.S. Marine Corps General, is notoriously protective of access to President Trump, in contrast to his predecessor Priebus, whom Scaramucci also insulted in his New Yorker interview.