During an appearance on the Thursday edition of CNN's New Day Thursday, former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci explained that President Trump still hopes to "drain the swamp" but that may be an impossible task because of its "immunological system" designed to "reject a disruptive move." Co-anchor Chris Cuomo responded by effectively comparing President Trump to a virus.
A lengthy back and forth ensued where Scaramucci reminded Cuomo about all of the negative press that the media-Democratic complex treated 2012 GOP candidate Mitt Romney with after he released his tax returns. Cuomo then implied that President Trump’s decision not to release his tax returns showed that he thinks “we’re too dumb to figure out his taxes.”
Cuomo seemed surprised that voters selected President Trump in spite of not having access to his tax returns, saying “they didn’t have full information.” Eventually, Scaramucci hit back by saying that many voters were “willing to overlook that and take the entire package”, because the “American people want reform” and abhor “the swamp.”
Cuomo then suggested many Americans regretted their decision to back President Trump: “they’re getting more of the same and worse.” Scaramucci then suggested that the swamp might not actually be trainable. According to Scaramuccci, a gold-plated hot tub might serve as a better metaphor for the bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. than a swamp.
He suggested that cutting through all of the red tape that has brought our nation’s capital to an effective stand still has proven itself easier said than done: “Maybe the immunological system around the swamp is so powerful that it will reject a disruptive move to change the system and make the system fairer and more accountable to the American people.” Cuomo responded: “Or maybe adding a virus into that system...wasn’t the...appropriate change mechanism. Maybe he’ll have to try something else.”
When Scaramucci brought up the strong economy, Cuomo recycled the old talking point that the economic conditions have only improved for the wealthy: “Wall street’s doing well. Time will tell how the policies manifest.” When Scaramucci mentioned that many Americans have seen their wages increase, Cuomo downplayed that fact, arguing “there are some indications of it. We will see the reports.”
As for the “something else” Cuomo hoped that President Trump will try, one could imagine he yearns for a “traditional” politician who caters to the needs and wishes of the status quo.
CNN's New Day
CHRIS CUOMO: Anthony. Would you take that meeting with Apollo Capital if on the outside you were working a deal for a loan of that kind of money?
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: So I’m going to answer it in two ways, okay? I probably wouldn’t have taken the meeting but I understand why Jared took the meeting. Let me just explain. Here’s the problem now for businesspeople that go into the White House. The system is set up really to block businesspeople. I had to sell my company to get the OPL job. Okay? A $228 million company which has now been tied up in CFIUS for 15 months. Okay?
CUOMO: CFIUS is the vetting administration that looks at those kinds of deals.
SCARAMUCCI: I sold it to a large cap global company, happens to be based in China. So now I have to wait 15 months for regulatory approval or disapproval, okay? Never asked for a favor. I just wanted the process to start. But as it relates to being a businessperson, Jared had probably loans outstanding from those companies prior to his arrival inside the White House and so now, you’re in a very tough spot because of the way the rules and ethics are, are, are made. They are literally designed, Chris, to block entrepreneurs and business leaders from entering the system. Lawyers, academics, people that don’t have strong, intertwined business ties, that’s a very different situation.
CUOMO: Right but one, you know that there’s...
SCARAMUCCI: ...a military general or somebody that doesn’t have any money or any businesses.
CUOMO: Right but you know there’s good reason for that. The good reason for that, Anthony, is exactly what we’re seeing. 184-look you know Apollo Capital very well. That is an unusual bridge loan, $184 million that they put out. The guy wanted to work, by the reporting on their own portfolio, it’s, that’s an unusual one. It’s a healthy one. The guy had interest in working in the administration. You come and you meet in your capacity as a representative of the United States government and then you allow that to happen. City Corp, same deal, you allow that to happen.
SCARAMUCCI: When you, when you, when you analyze these things the way and you characterize them the way you just did, okay, I understand the point that you’re making. It ---
CUOMO: Semblence of impropriety is the standard.
SCARAMUCCI: -- I understand the point that you’re making and I understand the issues around conflict but I’m saying something that’s way broader than even Jared Kushner.
CUOMO: You’ve got tons of business people work in there before, you can put your shares in things, you can divest, you can do different things if you want to serve the public. Paulson, when he came in, took us through the entire depression.
SCARAMUCCI: Okay, well hold on a second. Paulson is in a publicly traded company.
SCARAMUCCI: Very liquid, very deep liquidity in that stock. And you can let go of that thing without “CFIUS” approval, none of the other nonsense. Jared and his family are tied into...
CUOMO: Gary Cohn.
SCARAMUCCI: ...Goldman Sachs, very deep, very deep liquid stocks.
CUOMO: Mnuchin. Trump.
SCARAMUCCI: Okay, he’s on a different standard.
CUOMO: Yeah, and he hasn’t been transparent at all about if the rest of you guys acted the way the President did, you would have never been given your permission.
SCARAMUCCI: But hold on a second. But he’s at a different standard. Look at what the law is. He is the one exception in that whole system. He could literally run the Trump Organization and the Oval Office at the same time and be above the ethical fray.
CUOMO: No. He wouldn’t be above the ethical fray. He’d be above the legal fray.
SCARAMUCCI: Okay. He wouldn’t be above your ethical fray but at the end of the day...
CUOMO: You think you’d want a President running a private business?
SCARAMUCCI: I, well, the American people had to decide that, right? They voted him in. They didn’t recognize...
CUOMO: He said he would have nothing to do with his private business.
SCARAMUCCI: He really hasn’t.
CUOMO: Come on. Come on. How can you say that? He spends most of his time at Trump properties.
SCARAMUCCI: How do you know? Are you hanging out with him? He spends most of his time at Trump properties because he owns the properties, like going to your own vacation home.
CUOMO: But I’m saying, he’s, look, the idea that he has nothing to do with his brand, all of this is an extension of brand for him. Come on. You know that, Anthony.
SCARAMUCCI: Okay, no, you know that because of the way you’re insinuating it, okay? I know the kids very well.
CUOMO: Won’t show his taxes. He won’t open any of the book of any of his transactions.
SCARAMUCCI: Look, he looked at the situation with Governor Romney, when Governor Romney showed his taxes. Poor Mitt Romney, had a small Cayman Islands account, he built his career, made himself unbelievably financially independent and they railed on him for his Cayman Islands account and then they started these negative campaign advertisements about, that he gave a woman cancer in the middle of Michigan. So, so this is what happens in our society, this is what happens in our politics. You can dislike the President but he’s a very good campaign strategist. The decision not to put out his very complicated tax structure and system was probably a good one because it took off the table all of that negative activity.
CUOMO: Yeah but what about truth and transparency to people? You think we’re too dumb to figure out his taxes?
SCARAMUCCI: You got his taxes?
CUOMO: No. If I had them, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I would have had a bunch of experts go over it and then outline any issues.
SCARAMUCCI: Here we go again. You’re, you know, the people voted. They, they looked at the President...
CUOMO: They didn’t have full information.
SCARAMUCCI: ...Warts and all but they did, they had full information...
CUOMO: Now, we’re steep in an investigation that largely...
SCARAMUCCI: Chris, let me finish.
CUOMO: ...is looking at exactly the things they don’t know about.
SCARAMUCCI: They had full information that they didn’t have full information.
CUOMO: They had full information that they didn’t have full information?
SCARAMUCCI: That’s exactly right.
CUOMO: No, I don’t think that’s the way it works. I don’t think people voted, saying, I know I don’t know the truth about this guy but I’ll vote for him.
SCARAMUCCI: Wait a minute. For forty years, people divulged their taxes. For forty years prior, they didn’t. This candidate made a decision not to. Am I going to vote for him? Yes or no. I’m going to vote for him, he’s the 45th President.
CUOMO: It’s just not fair to assume that they... You can’t know what you don’t know, Anthony.
SCARAMUCCI: You’re missing my point. You’re missing my point. They knew that they didn’t know that and if that’s a red-letter item for them, then they didn’t vote for him.
CUOMO: Right. It’s just an unfair standard.
SCARAMUCCI: If they’re willing to, if they’re willing to overlook that and take the entire package. The American people want reform, Chris. They don’t like the Swamp.
CUOMO: I know but they’re getting more of the same and worse. He was supposed to drain the swamp, he was supposed to bring in the best. And look at what we’re dealing with, how he sweats talent, how many just Comms Directors he’s gone through.
SCARAMUCCI: Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe it’s not drainable.
CUOMO: The ethical problems.
SCARAMUCCI: Maybe it’s a gold-plated hot tub. Maybe it’s not drainable, okay? We’ll have to figure that out. But the system the way it is right now, the American people don’t like it, okay? And so the reason why he’s going to win re-election is that he represents a change and a possible disruption to that system. And maybe that system can’t be disrupted because we’ve evacuated most of the Trump loyalists out of the White House. We don’t allow access to most of the Trump loyalists coming into the White House and so maybe the system itself is so powerful, maybe the immunological system around the swamp is so powerful that it will reject a disruptive move to change the system and make the system fairer and more accountable to the American people.
CUOMO: Or maybe adding a virus into that system...
SCARAMUCCI: We’ll have to see.
CUOMO: Wasn’t the change, appropriate change mechanism. Maybe he’ll have to try something else but last word on this. You do believe...
SCARAMUCCI: The economy’s doing well. He’s done a good job on the, on economic policies.
CUOMO: Wall Street’s doing well. Time will tell how the policies manifest.
SCARAMUCCI: Wages are up, brother. They are.
CUOMO: There are some indications of it. We will see the reports.
SCARAMUCCI: Everybody talks about my 11-day short stint, okay? I was trained in the economy.
CUOMO: I know you were.
SCARAMUCCI: You look at the real wages, the real wages. The data represents real economic activity for the average American person.