The last time much of America heard from Anthony Scaramucci, he was spewing graphic insults at White House colleagues in an infamous New Yorker interview and was promptly fired.
That was about 60 days ago. Scaramucci is counting.
But as he kicked back with a cauliflower steak in the softly lit basement of the Midtown New York restaurant he co-founded, the Mooch also insisted that he is moving forward.
It was launch day for his new media outlet, called the “Scaramucci Post,” and he spent the day forgoing profanity-laced epithets in favor of a more measured persona as he described his new venture.
“I’m going to have people from the left on this as well as people from the right on this,” he told McClatchy between filming video segments to launch the outlet that carries the tagline, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
He drew a deliberate distinction between the Scaramucci Post and Breitbart, the hard-right information site run by one of his chief rivals in the White House, Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon. Breitbart often takes a tough line against candidates deemed too “establishment,” and such coverage can be weaponized in GOP primaries, as it was just last week in the Alabama GOP primary runoff.
“I don’t see a role for the Scaramucci Post to be picking sides in primaries or even picking sides in the political spectrum,” Scaramucci told McClatchy. “That’s Breitbart’s business model. My business model is going to be something that hasn’t been proven before, it may or may not work.”
But that doesn’t mean Scaramucci, who made a name for himself as a major political donor before signing on with Trump, is swearing off partisan politics.
“Would I write a campaign check to somebody, or if somebody asked me to campaign with them, or if I thought somebody had the right policies, they’re going to serve the American people, would I help them?” he said. “I probably would at some point.”
And, he said, he would “probably come in at the end” of the 2018 congressional elections, whether that’s campaigning or donating, in his personal capacity too. In the meantime, he’s turning his attention to the Scaramucci Post, which had been active on Twitter for several weeks before Monday’s official launch. He was vague on some details of the venture, but said that there would be advertisers and that the organization would start off with a focus on video and video interviews.
“There are components of this that are think-tank in their orientation, there are components that are plain, vanilla news that is frankly unfiltered, kind of cold-brew news if you will, and then there will be parts that are policy-related,” he told a pack of reporters at a launch event held in what he and other visitors jokingly called the “Mooch cave” — the downstairs dining area of his swanky Hunt & Fish Club restaurant.
What’s clear about the Scaramucci Post is that it will provide a new platform for Scaramucci to express his personal policy views, through video and Twitter. Last month, BuzzFeed reported that Scaramucci, who has also given a number of high-profile television interviews recently, told friends he was interested in running for political office, something Scaramucci has denied.
“I have found the process is, like, ridiculously brutal and it’s not something I really would like to put my family through,” he said, when pressed Monday evening on the prospect of a run. “But I will say this: if you look at my life experience in the United States, I am the product of a lot of elements of the United States that I love: massive social and class mobility for people like me” who grew up, he said, in a “blue-collar area.”
Asked, later, for his metrics for success, he replied: “I don’t have any benchmarks, but on my instincts, when we start to galvanize more advertisers, and more eyeballs, and people say, ‘Wait a minute, this is a destination I can go to where I can get a lot of content, it’s a learning center, from an editorial point of view, it will be non-pedantic,’ we don’t have to have smarty-pants editorialists talking down to our consumers. If anything what we have to do is we have to talk up to consumers.”
Throughout the course of the day, Scaramucci sounded notes of optimism and enthusiasm about his new project, but also referenced, several times, his fateful interview with the New Yorker, and the rivalries he confronted in the White House during his brief tenure. Sometimes, his remarks sounded defiant.
“I can’t tell you what the Scaramucci Post is going to be, but what I can tell the paid Twitter trolls and the haters and MoveOn.org and all these crazy people is, don’t bet against me,” Scaramucci told two reporters on Monday afternoon. “As long as I’m out of the grave and I’m moving, I probably wouldn’t bet against me.”
One of the reporters suggested he use the slogan “no bullsh–.”
“I got my mouth washed out with soap plenty of times,” Scaramucci eventually replied, waving off that idea.
“Unfortunately it didn’t work on me. Can you imagine if it was successful soap washing by my nana?” he mused. “I’d probably still be at the White House. I actually wouldn’t be at the White House, something else would have happened, because I had a target on my back.”
Later, McClatchy asked whether Scaramucci had determined which candidates running in the midterms he would like to personally assist. (He hasn’t). Asked about Michael Grimm, the former New York congressman who resigned for felony tax fraud but announced another run Sunday, Scaramucci said that he didn’t know him well.
But, he noted, “there are big comebacks in America.”