Donald Trump’s new communications director has escalated his bizarre media interactions by phoning CNN to attack his colleagues, live on air, for leaking to the press.
The day after his extraordinary interview on Newsnight, Anthony Scaramucci decided to pick up the phone and tell the world that Trump’s staff includes people who think it is “their job to save America from this president”.
But the performance had the ironic side-effect of triggering more leaks.
One CNN contributor said that, as Scaramucci ranted, he started getting texts from Trump’s advisors asking to speak to him afterwards, saying: “How is this thing playing live on the air?”
Scaramucci phoned in after a segment that discussed a cryptic tweet he sent last night, which said he was reporting a leak of his financial information to the FBI.
The tweet copied in White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.
“There are people inside the administration that think it is their job to save America from this president. Ok?” Scaramucci told CNN.
He said he and Trump had a “good idea” of who the leakers were. He added: “If Reince wants to explain he’s not a leaker. Let him do that.”
He talked about how he had previously referred to himself and Priebus and “brothers” but then added: “Some brothers are like Cain and Abel.”
For those unfamiliar with the biblical reference, Cain murders Abel.
In an extraordinary few minutes, he said of the White House: “The fish stinks from the head. I can tell you two fish that don’t stink. That’s me and the president.”
When host Chris Cuomo said the Trump White House was suffering from more leaks than previous administrations, Scaramucci called him “unprofessional”.
He also said he had spoken to Trump that morning and was not “in trouble” for going on the show.
″[Trump] said if you’re going on Chris Cuomo’s show he better be nice to you this morning otherwise I’m not gonna let you go on,” Scaramucci said.
“I don’t know if this repairable or not that will be up to the president,” he said of his relationship with Priebus.
“I don’t like the activity that’s going on in the White House. I don’t like what they’re doing to my friends, to the president of the United States or their fellow colleagues in the West Wing.”
He added: “Let me tell you something about myself. I am a straight shooter and I will go right to the heart of the matter.”
After Scaramucci was off air, Joshua Green, author of a book about Trump’s White House, said: “My phone is blowing up.”
“The problem is his performance is creating more leaks live in real time,” Green said.
“My phone is blowing up. I’ve got Trump advisors saying: ‘Dude, how bad was that?’ ‘How is this thing playing live on the air?’ ‘Call me when you get off the air’.
“This is amplifying precisely the problem which he is trying to shut down.”
Green added that leaks were a “real fixation” for Trump and staff.
Scaramucci has been quick to bank a series of bizarre press performances.
On Wednesday, the former Wall Street financier told Newsnight: “One of the things I can’t stand about this town is the back-stabbing... Where I grew up we’re front-stabbers.”
For context, it is his seventh day in the job.
His appointment prompted White House press secretary Sean Spicer to resign, after weeks of Trump marginalising him.
Scaramucci did not back Trump during the Republican primaries.
In January 2016, he told the BBC: “If Donald Trump becomes the next president, I’m looking forward to the BBC helping me find a flat somewhere in London.”