White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci seemed more than one BBC reporter could handle, calling her a “bit elitist” during his first UK interview.
President Trump’s new spokesman covered a wide range of topics in the lengthy 11 minute interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis on Wednesday, from the differences between British and American societies to how Trump’s love of cheeseburgers qualifies him as non-elitist.
Maitlis wondered how a billionaire celebrity like Trump could be representative of middle and lower classes during one part of the segment.
“What part of Donald Trump is not elite?” she asked.
“There’s so many things about the president (that make him a non-elite). What about the cheeseburgers? What about the pizzas?” Scaramucci responded.
“Everyone eats cheeseburgers and pizza. What are you talking about?” Maitlis asked, a bit astonished at his answer.
“No, no, no. See, you’re coming across a little bit elitist,” he replied.
Scaramucci did offer an apology at the end of the interview, looking directly at the camera and addressing viewers.
“Sorry I called you an elitist, she’s probably not an elitist. She was hitting me very hard. I didn’t mean to call you that, I apologize to your viewers.” he said.
Scaramucci spoke about Trump’s style and how he admired the direct way the president deals with things.
“I’m from a town right on the border of Queens and the President grew up in Queens,” he told Maitlis. “We have a little more of a different communications style (than the UK), a little bit more direct … probably less subtle and polite. You don’t think politicians in your home town are hitting each other left and right?”
The wealthy Wall Street financier apparently coined a new term to describe the style of confrontational politics.
“One of the things I can’t stand about this town is the back-stabbing. Where I grew up we’re front-stabbers,” he said, later elaborating on how this applies in his new home in Washington, D.C.
“I’m now living in Washington. Do you live in Washington? What happens in Washington is someone says something to your face and they don’t mean it and they say something else behind your back,” he told the BBC journalist. “So what I like about the president, it’s actually good leadership, to say the things to people’s faces that he actually means and then let’s resolve it or not resolve it.’
Scaramucci touched on many topics through the lively interview, using animated hand gestures and, many times, reaching out to touch Maitlis, who at times seemed flabbergasted by the 53 year-old New Yorker.
He compared Trump’s attempts to repeal Obamacare to Abraham Lincoln’s fight to abolish slavery.
“It took Lincoln three or four times to get what he wanted from the Senate and House of Representatives which was the full abolition of slavery. That was a much tougher thing to do than what we are doing now,” he said.
He also touched on Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and even weighed in on the Brexit vote.
“Have you been to a Bernie Sanders rally? Have you been to a Trump rally?” he asked, tapping the reporter’s hand. “There is discontent, Emily. There is civil discontent.”
Scaramucci was remarkably transparent, telling Maitlis he had “no idea what was going on” with a US and UK trade deal which involves chlorine-rinsed chicken.
“Here’s the good thing about me. You and I are meeting for the first time. I have no idea what’s going on with the chlorine rinsed chicken and so even to pretend and make something up to you, I’m just not going to do that, OK?” he said. “If you want to interview me in a week or two, I’ll figure out what’s going on with chlorine rinsed chicken and I bet you I’ll have a clever answer for you.”
In the end, it seems Maitlis found the exchange enjoyable and took to Twitter to call Scaramucci a “good sport.”
The supremely good sport and WhiteHouse Comms director @Scaramucci (who’s not actually about to punch me..)#Newsnight pic.twitter.com/IRhqqoR7VS
— emily m (@maitlis) July 26, 2017
As for the new communications director, he said he is having a good time.
“I’m having a lot of fun. I love my country,” Scaramucci concluded. “I had lunch with the president today and I can’t tell you who else was there but the president looked over and said ‘Doesn’t Anthony look like he’s having a good time?’ And the answer is yes.”
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