The body of former White House Director of Communications Anthony Scaramucci was discovered on the White House lawn Monday. Scaramucci’s neatly-coiffed head, along with the mushier, more panicked capitulum of former chief of staff and freshly-resigned rival Reince Priebus, was found a short distance away, gored on the White House gates as a message to their replacements.
Like Soviet Commissars promoted during the Great Terror, Trump appointees begin composing their last words from the moment they ascend to high office. The fallen include an FBI Director (James Comey), an NSC Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs (Craig Deare, escorted off the White House grounds for criticizing Trump in off-the-record comments at the Woodrow Wilson Center), the first female White House usher (Angella Reid), a top Middle East adviser (Derek Harvey, a longtime intelligence official quietly whacked last week in what was seen as a message to Steve Bannon), an Acting Attorney General (Sally Yates), and a host of others.
There have been many resignations, a few of them perhaps truly voluntary – like Disney CEO Bob Iger and Tesla chief Elon Musk deciding to bounce from a White House Advisory Council after his Orangeness pulled out of the Paris Accords – but a great many others seem to have been “resigned.”
Michael Flynn, Priebus, and former Priebus Deputy Katie Walsh come to mind here. The most public posts are the most perilous. The next White House Director of Communications will already be Trump’s fourth – you may have forgotten about Mike Dubke, who served for 85 days from February through the end of May. That doesn’t even factor in assistant press secretaries like Michael Short, who ate the cyanide pill in the form of a hastily written resignation text last week.
Short rushed to quit after seeing a Politico report indicating that he was about to be fired. Anthony Scaramucci, who reportedly was about to do the firing, said he was terribly upset “as a human being and as a Roman Catholic” that the press somehow knew Short’s fate before Short did. Scaramucci himself was out a few days later, and the week-plus on the job with Trump only cost him his marriage – his wife Deidre reportedly filed for divorce after “Mooch” elected to skip the birth of their child to be with his president.
In Mooch’s defense, he texted after the birth – “Congratulations, I’ll pray for the child” – but this surprisingly did little to mollify his soon-to-be ex-wife.
The maelstrom of firings speaks to the peculiar chaos of the Trump White House. Basically, there is no successful formula for bureaucratic survival in this administration.
The twin killings of Scaramucci and Priebus tell the whole story. The two men represented opposite strategies for surviving Castle Trumpsylvania, and both turned out to be equally ineffective.