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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Scaramucci out: Trump's controversial communications director is removed from White House post

Anthony Scaramucci was dismissed from his role at the White House just hours after President Trump swore in a new chief of staff

White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci  with the media outside the White House in Washington, DC on July 25, 2017.  Tasos Katopodis / AFP
White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci with the media outside the White House in Washington, DC on July 25, 2017. Tasos Katopodis / AFP

Anthony Scaramucci has been removed from his post as White House communications director after just 10 days in a sign that Donald Trump’s new chief of staff is trying to restore order to a chaotic administration.

His brief tenure was dominated by the fall-out from an expletive-laden rant to a magazine journalist that heralded the departure of Reince Priebus as chief of staff.

John Kelly, a former four-star Marine general, took over the job on Monday and made clear his intention to tighten discipline in an administration that has frequently been its own worst enemy.

Sean Spicer, who 10 days ago announced his own resignation in protest at the hiring of Mr Scaramucci, found himself announcing his departure on Monday afternoon.

“Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director,” he said in a statement.

“Mr Scaramucci felt it was best to give chief of staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best.”

It marks the end of an extraordinary period even by the exaggerated standards of this White House.

Mr Scaramucci, a New York hedge fund founder with limited communications experience, was brought in as part of an effort to shake up Mr Trump’s media operation. His departure means he was gone even before his official start date of August 15.

Insiders said he had become frustrated at his team’s reticence to hit back hard at criticism. An assured TV performer with a typical New Yorker’s bite, he demonstrated his dog-fighting abilities last week as he went on the hunt for a White House mole.

He all but accused Mr Priebus, the then chief of staff, of being a leaker during a CNN interview. And, during a telephone conversation with a New Yorker reporter, unloaded an angry diatribe against some of his White House colleagues before announding that Mr Priebus was being forced out.

“Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he’ll be asked to resign very shortly,” he told the jounalist, before going on to describe the then White House chief of staff as a “paranoid schizophrenic”.

Mr Priebus resigned a day later and Mr Trump moved rapidly to appoint Mr Kelly, whose work at the Department of Homeland Security he had frequently praised, in his place.

According to the Washington Post, Mr Kelly told associates during the weekend that he thought Mr Scaramucci's interview was embarrassing for the president.

His removal was intended to signal a change in atmosphere and culture of the White House, and a reminder to staff that their words reflected on the commander in chief.

His ousting came hours after Mr Trump himself took to Twitter on Monday morning to push back against allegations that his administration was a shambles.

“Highest Stock Market EVER, best economic numbers in years, unemployment lowest in 17 years, wages raising, border secure, SC: No WH chaos,” he wrote.

The White House has also clarified the chain of command, strengthening the role of chief of staff, according to Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“The president certainly felt Anthony’s comments were inappropriate for a person in that position and he didn’t want to burden Gen Kelly also with that line of succession,” she said.

“As we’ve made clear over the past couple of days… Gen Kelly has full authority to operate in the White House and all staff will report to him.”