Scaramucci: Republicans Should Consider Changing Top Of the Ticket, Trump "Pernicious Evil" Dividing Country


CNN: In an interview with CNN's John Berman, former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said that President Donald Trump's presidency gets worse every day, and the top of the 2020 Republican presidential ticket may need to be replaced.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, what was the tipping point? And is this a sign of things to come when it comes to the president's supporters? Joining me now, Anthony Scaramucci, one-time White House communications director and author of, "Trump, the Blue-Collar President." Anthony, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

All -- with this Axios interview you compared the president to Chernobyl, something of a nuclear meltdown and then you went on to say, "A couple more weeks like this and country over party is going to require the Republicans to replace the top of the ticket in 2020."

A couple more weeks like this, you say. A couple more weeks like what?

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, the last time I was in this chair with you, John, we were talking about the racially-charged rhetoric that led to a whole Twitter nonsense from the president, and obviously, he then left to go to the two shooting areas.

And so, now he comes back from the two shooting areas, that was like a total catastrophe, because the only thing he was doing in those areas was talking about himself and praising himself and crowd sizes.

And so, it just -- one day after the next, it gets worse and worse and worse, and in the meantime, as you know, in a chair like this or inside your studio or elsewhere, I got fired two years ago and have tried to stay very loyal to him and very loyal to the agenda, because I think the policies are very, very good for the American people. But the rhetoric is so charged and so divisive, that we have to all just take a step back now and say what are we doing actually?

So, one thing that I find reprehensible, and the president continues to do this, and I think what will end up happening is, sound and reasonably-minded men and women in the Republican Party will say, "Wait a minute, we can't do this." He is giving people a license to hate, to provide a source of anger to go after each other, and he does it on his Twitter account.

So, let's just stop for a second and think about this. We ignore it, but he goes after people personally. Going after me personally, no problem. I'm a big boy. I can take it. Donny Deutsch can take it, but he goes after individuals as the President of the United States on his Twitter account, OK, which incites hate, which incites death threats.

I mean, at some point, I think the people in my party will have to look at all this stuff and stop being anesthetized to it and say, "Hey, what are we doing?" The policies are great, many of them. The trade war thing is likely going to end up in an unexpected outcome. We can talk about that if you want, but lastly, how are we all tolerating this?

So, to me, I'm just saying, it -- last week, arguably one of the worst weeks in his presidency, and again, I'm not talking about things that happened to him politically from a legislation point of view or things like that, but just from the way he's acting as a human being.

So, to me, a couple more weeks like this, I really do believe there will be a groundswell in the party where people say, "Hey, the policies are great, but you're setting us up the way Jimmy Carter set up the Democratic Party, where they went into the wilderness for 40 years."

So, those are my opinions. I'm very proud to state them. And you know, listen, I mean, if you saw the "Chernobyl" series, it did not end well. So we're in the first two episodes now. Let's see how this thing unfolds.

[07:05:12] BERMAN: Are you calling for a change to the top of the Republican ticket?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I'm calling for it to be considered, yes. I think you have to consider a change at the top of the ticket when someone is acting like this, when someone is that lax intellectual curiosity to take ideas from friends.

Just give you an example. Last week on this show you asked me specifically, do I still support the president? I said that I did. I go on "The Bill Maher Show," I'm asked, do I still support the president? Yes, I do, however the racially-charged comments, the divisive tweeting, the nonsense coming from the president is not helping the country.

And so, if you're in a place in your mind where loyal people to you -- and again, I was fired two years ago. He pointed that out on Twitter. Big deal, blah, blah. I do appreciate the president getting the 11 days right, though, by the way, so thank you, Mr. President.

But, you know, he's out there doing things, and you're trying to give him advice, but he can't listen to anybody. And if you say something that's one or two sentences off the mark of his support. And I would tell his loyalists, loyalty is not blind obedience unless you're supporting a demagogue, OK? BERMAN: Anthony --

SCARAMUCCI: And so, you don't want to ever be like that in your life.

BERMAN: Anthony, last week when I asked you if you still supported him, the answer was yes. This morning, when I asked you if you're calling for a change to the top of the ticket, you said it should be considered. So, are you no longer, as of this morning, supporting ...

SCARAMUCCI: I'm in a neutral -- I'm now in a -- I'm a Republican, so I'm not switching parties to support a Democrat. I believe in the values and the policies of the Republican Party, but I'm now neutral on the president.

BERMAN: You're now neutral on the president?

SCARAMUCCI: And let's see how he continues to act. And if he -- oh, absolutely. You have to -- you have to get into a neutral position. And very --

BERMAN: All right, so you are no longer an active --

SCARAMUCCI: -- and very smart-minded people --

BERMAN: -- you are no longer -- and Anthony, I just don't want to pass this by, so people -- you are no longer an active supporter of President Trump and his reelection bid?

SCARAMUCCI: Yes, I think that's -- I think that's pretty obvious from over the weekend. I mean, the guy's actually dissembling a little bit, and he's sounding more and more nonsensical. And you know, we're sort of anesthetized to it and people inside of Washington, "Oh yes, that's just President Trump. Just let him act like that." But you know, you're fracturing the institutions and all of the things that the country stands for.

So, that's not worth the economic policies. You know, that's not worth the GDP growth, which by the way, is slowing down and the stock market's exactly where it was a year ago. And I do think you have a bigger problem with the trade war than people think. The Fed is not cutting rates if the economy is doing super well. And so --

BERMAN: So Anthony -- Anthony --

SCARAMUCCI: -- so, you've got a combination of things now.


SCARAMUCCI: Yes, go ahead, John.

BERMAN: I was going to say, so the one intervening event over the weekend was, you had a Twitter exchange with the president, where he criticized you directly. All the other stuff is stuff we've seen from President Trump for years at this point, from when he was -- before president. So, what changed exactly over the last two days? SCARAMUCCI: You -- you -- you -- OK, so you and Alisyn have often asked me that, and people say, "Well, OK, where's the red line where you break from your support from somebody?" Because remember, loyalty is symmetrical.

BERMAN: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: It's not asymmetric. And so -- so what I said to you last week was, "Geez, this is really polarizing. This is very, very divisive. As a supporter of his, I would caution that we not go in this direction."

You brought up stochastic terrorism in our last interview, and I suggested, "OK, I can understand how this charged rhetoric coming from the bully pulpit of the presidency could lead to some unintended tragic consequences." And so, all I said was, I wish the president would stop doing that. One scintilla of criticism, you get this sort of backlash.

And so, for me, it's a combination of factors. He's taking one step too far with the racial charging of his rhetoric and his Twitter feed. And you can say, OK, well the only reason why you're breaking from him now is that he went after you specifically on Twitter, and I'll accept that.

I think that, to me, was a big turning point, because I'm looking at that saying, "Wait a minute. I'm out here supporting him." The guy fired me two years ago. I have been super loyal to this guy, super loyal to the president's agenda. But there's something wrong with the guy as a leader if he can't take constructive criticism or advice from people that have been super loyal to him.

BERMAN: Anthony --

SCARAMUCCI: It tells you that there's probably not a lot of listening going on inside the White House, at which point, you know, we have to shine a light on that, and it requires people to be truthful to themselves and truthful to the country over a specific person.

[07:10:09] BERMAN: One of the things -- one of the things you wrote over the weekend was, "Eventually, he turns on everyone, and soon it will be you and then the entire country." What do you mean he could turn on the entire country?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, he has a nihilistic way to his personality, so the minute you say something he doesn't like, he figures that he can intimidate you like a bully. You know, I mean, John, where in American history or in our movies or in our culture does the bully win?

You know, so to me, this gruff, intimidating, bullying nonsense, strong people have to get together and call it out for what it is. And so -- so that's where I stand on this. And I tried to stay loyal to him, but you can't be loyal to somebody that, again, is asymmetric in his loyalty. And so, the people know that. I mean, the overwhelming flood of texts, phone conversations and

support last night from people that are actually inside the White House, up on Capitol Hill, former elected officials, current people in positions of power, current elected officials, is truly staggering. And so, I think if we break through as a group --

BERMAN: Who? Can you -- can you give us any -- can you give us any names? Can you give us any names or characterize the types of people who called and supported you?

SCARAMUCCI: John -- John, it's not fair, but at some point these people will have the courage to speak up on their own. OK? You know, somebody said to me last night, why -- and there are detractors, too. I want to be very balanced here. Why did I leak something to Axios? I'm like, I didn't leak anything to Axios --

BERMAN: That was on the record.

SCARAMUCCI: -- I just put a name on it. It's a totally different thing --

BERMAN: So Anthony, the reason I was asking who and to name names, it is --

SCARAMUCCI: It's totally on the record.

BERMAN: -- I'm trying to get a sense of, obviously you're not an elected official, but who do you think you --

SCARAMUCCI: I think it's important for people to speak for themselves.

BERMAN: Who do you think you represent? Who do you think you represent? Who are the Anthony Scaramuccis of the world here? What type of Republican or Trump supporter do you think now is vulnerable?

SCARAMUCCI: I think -- I think there's a very large group of people that are thinking about this from an intellectual point of view that are marrying policy to country. The origin of the country, what the country stands for, why we have the first name "United," and they're stepping back and saying, "OK, wait a minute. This is way too divisive." OK, he is the commander in chief, and he's supposed to represent everybody.

And so, when he's going in a direction of being this divisive and using this type of rhetoric, again, using your words, stochastic terrorism, and things like, you've got to stop and say, wait a minute, if you can't take any advice from your friends and you're siloed in, you just, you know, random tweet storming people, to me it doesn't make any sense.

And so, I know there's a lot of smart, rational Republicans and there's a lot of smart, rational people in the party that will say, "OK, wait a minute, it's starting to be more unhinged every single day." And so --

BERMAN: You --

SCARAMUCCI: -- last week to me was a turning point. You'll say it was because he tweeted at me, but --

BERMAN: I didn't say that. I was --

SCARAMUCCI: -- we were talking about this a week ago.

BERMAN: The White House -- the White House is saying it's cause he tweeted at you.

SCARAMUCCI: Oh, you suggested.

BERMAN: I asked about it. The White House says --


BERMAN: -- someone had his feelings hurt.


BERMAN: It sounds like he had his feelings hurt. That's what the White House says. I was merely relaying that.

SCARAMUCCI: Yes, exactly. I don't -- hey, John -- John, I need this aggravation like a hole in my head. OK? I love my country. I don't have my feelings hurt. Trust me, I got fired, didn't get my feelings hurt, dusted myself off, went right back to work, and I supported the president.

BERMAN: So, actually -- well, OK, let me ask about supporting the president -- do you regret --

SCARAMUCCI: But, we're in a place now where there's 15 months to go -- go ahead.

BERMAN: Do you regret -- do you regret your years of support for President Trump as you sit here this morning?

SCARAMUCCI: No, absolutely not, because what the president did and I think his value to our society was, he opened the door again for blue- collar workers who felt left out of the economic system and felt left out of the establishment political powers. And so, I give him huge credit for that, frankly, wrote a book about that.

BERMAN: You did. Since you quoted me with the phrase --

SCARAMUCCI: But the divisiveness -- I'm sorry?

BERMAN: Since you quoted me using the phrase -- since you quote me using the phrase "stochastic terror," I want to quote you on Twitter sounding smart. You're quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian, and you put out a statement overnight, quoting him --


BERMAN: -- saying, "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil." What's the evil here Anthony?

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. There's -- there's a pernicious evil in trying to divide the country. And so, at the end of the day, you know, I'm really a very big-time pragmatic person. I'm not really an ideologue. And so when I step back and look at where we are as a nation, we could be doing so much better than we're doing right now.

We wake up in the morning, we're like, "OK, what's he going to do now? What's he going to say? How is going to say it?" And in the beginning, it was sort of entertaining. And in the beginning, you're like, OK, there's real change needed in Washington. So hopefully, this will provide some level of disruption.

But now we're at the point where we're like, "OK, what is this all about? Is this about the country? Is this about the individual?" See, if it's about the individual, that's not really how the country got set up. I mean, that's why when we set up --

BERMAN: When you use phrases like evil --

SCARAMUCCI: -- the separation of powers --

BERMAN: -- when you use phrases like evil and quoting Bonhoeffer and using words like "evil" and talking about dangerous, it sounds like you are saying, Anthony, that the President of the United States is a threat to the security of the United States. Is that what you're saying?

SCARAMUCCI: I -- I would -- let's watch how this unfolds. I think that is starting to happen, John. And as I said to Jonathan Swan last night, if he continues like this over the next three or four weeks, it is a responsibility of people in the Republican Party, OK, to say, "Hey, man, you know, we may need to put a relief pitcher in here. You pitched six strong innings, but you're -- you know, you're throwing it up against the backstop now."

So -- and I really believe that. And so, let's see what happens. I'm a loyal Republican, and I've tried to be loyal to him, but let's face it. I mean, he's gone off the rails, and so we just have to call for what it is.

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