It’s night. It’s Tuesday, August 1 and Anthony “Moochie” Scaramucci is gone. He was newly appointed by Trump as the White House Communications Director and after just 10 days in the job he has been fired.
Apparently, we are now living in an episode of The Apprentice, except it’s the entire free world and it involves the nuclear codes.
To explain what all this means Mia, as usual, calls her friend, Amelia Lester for our podcast, Tell Me It’s Going To Be OK.
The full interview with Amelia will be on the podcast, but here’s some of their conversation following the Mooch’s eviction, more Jared and Ivanka leaks, and Trump endorsing police brutality.
Mia: I woke up this morning. It’s Tuesday. The Mooch is gone. Tell me what’s happened.
Amelia: So I read a great tweet about this which said, “To summarize, Spicer quit because of Scaramucci, who took down Priebus, who was replaced by Kelly who took down Scaramucci.” So. Just unpack that a little bit.
Sean Spicer, who is famous for being impersonated by Melissa McCarthy on SNL, he was kind of respected by the Washington establishment. He was in the Navy Reserves. He was someone who was well known to the press corps.
Listen to Mia and Amelia talk about the world’s biggest reality TV star who happens to be a President.
So his White House spokesperson quits because Donald Trump says he wants to hire Anthony Scaramucci, who seems like a Mafia boss in 1980s mob movie. Scaramucci gets hired, Spicey quits and Scaramucci takes down Priebus, the chief of staff.
When Scaramucci arrived he says we’ve got to get rid of the Republican Party figure. He suggests replacing him with John Kelly who was a former Marine general. He was running Homeland Security and he comes in a couple of days ago and he gets rid of Scaramucci, the very guy who he told Donald Trump to hire.
Mia: There was also talk Ivanka and Jared were behind hiring Scaramucci?
He is a part of the sort of New York finance establishment, which Ivanka and Jared are also part of. So they talk Donald Trump into hiring Scaramucci because this is all part of their push to “professionalize” the White House.
Here’s the problem; he is unhinged. Last week he calls Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker. He called them on his cell phone late at night. Among other things, he said that Steve Bannon is the kind of Philip Seymour Hoffman evil genius lookalike behind the Donald Trump’s throne. He swears a lot, talks about cock-blocking.
It just sounds completely deranged and I encourage everyone who hasn’t read it, to read that piece.
Mia: But that doesn't get Scaramucci fired?
Amelia: Which is interesting instead, Priebus gets fired. We should all be very scared with the firing of Priebus because even though I'm no fan of the Republican Party at least, he was upholding certain norms of governance that we have become used to.
So the firing of Priebus was all part of Jared and Ivanka saying, I do politics better than the people who have been doing politics their whole lives. We're bringing in our New York man who runs a hedge fund and we're getting rid of Priebus, which they did in the most horrible way.
Priebus was on a flight with Donald Trump coming back from New York, apparently they land in D.C. and Priebus is told that he's gone. He has to find his own way home because he's kicked out of the Presidential convoy of cars taking them back to this city centre.
Mia: So it's actually like, "You're fired!". Like on a reality show and then bye. You have to leave the mansion immediately.
Amelia: So there is a theory doing the rounds that that maybe Donald Trump actually thinks that he's still on The Apprentice. There's a really fascinating piece at the moment also from The New Yorker by Emily Nussbaum, and she watches every single episode of The Apprentice.
She concluded from watching those many hours of terrible television, that as the ratings went down Donald Trump got more and more desperate and he became meaner and meaner.
His personality turned darker and I think that there's a real analogy to what we're seeing now with the sheer rate of the firings out of the White House.
Mia: So, Trump is getting desperate?
Amelia: This morning a poll came out from his approved pollster, Rasmussen Poll, and his disapproval rating is at 60 per cent. To put that into context, his disapproval rating hovered around 40 to 50 per cent because America is a very divided country and that number typically doesn't move. To get to 60 means that members of the Republican base have now left your side.
So George W. Bush was an unpopular president. But that's because he got America involved in two wars that are still going on. Donald Trump hasn't even done anything like that yet and he's already this unpopular. That's why we're seeing these firings happening at such a rapid rate, because he's feeling desperate.
Mia: I can't believe we have to talk about all of this and we haven't even mentioned Russia, because there have been bombshells.
Amelia: A few hours ago, The Washington Post published a real bombshell of a piece. It said that sources close to the incident were on Air Force One when he drafted Donald Junior's response to the revelations that he had met with the Russians.
Donald Junior Trump. Image via Facebook.
Remember, his first statement said that he was just talking about adoption with them because the Russians banned Americans from adopting Russian babies during the Obama presidency.
We learned subsequently that wasn't true because he released the emails that he himself sent where it became clear that they were talking about Hillary Clinton, not about adoption. The Washington Post reveals that President Donald Trump drafted the statement - in other words, the President lied.
And this is keeping with the way his presidency has been run which is that he is not just the President. He's also his PR man. He's also his political adviser. He has all these roles wrapped into one and he will not listen to anyone
Mia: Have there been leaks again?
Amelia: The fascinating thing about these leaks is they clearly come from Jared and Ivanka. As usual, the article says that Jared and Ivanka wanted to do the right thing; to be transparent and tell the truth. But they were overruled by Donald Trump.
The second interesting thing about The Washington Post piece is that Hope Hicks made an appearance for the first time, as also wanting to do the right thing.
Mia: Hope Hicks used be a young PR girl who worked for Ivanka. During the campaign for President, Trump made Hicks one of his aides. She has since been one of the most loyal people; she doesn't give interviews, no drama. Until now.
Amelia: This is my speculation. She is clearly making a decision to enter the fray for the first time because she's seeing the writing on the wall that Donald Trump has gotten himself into some significant legal troubles. Not just political troubles but legal troubles by lying. And she's already beginning the process of distancing herself from those actions.
Hope Hicks. Image via Forbes.
Mia: So, she has plausible deniability.
Amelia: Yes, because we just don't hear about her.
Mia: Enter, the new chief of staff John Kelly. Everyone is talking about how he will bring military discipline.
Amelia: A lot of people will say, OK John Kelly is really going to get serious for this White House. Here's a Marine Corps general. He is a military guy who's really going to impose some discipline on proceedings. And that's a good thing.
But you've got to also stop and remember how inappropriate it is that in a democracy you have the President surrounded by all these members of the military. This is not actually how we want democracies to look.
We want the military and politics to be separate from one another. And while it's true that he might bring a more professional White House, it's also worth stepping back and looking at the big picture. He's now basically fired everyone who isn't a former military member, Hope Hicks, or related to him.
Mia: Before we have to go, Trump gave an absolutely chilling speech while he was talking to a group of law enforcement officers a couple of days ago.
Amelia: He was speaking to some police on Long Island and he suggested to them that they should rough up prisoners a little more. So, when they are putting suspects into the cars they shouldn't protect their heads.
It was really upsetting to see everyone applaud when he said that. In times like these as a citizen, you turn to these institutions, like the police, and you hope that they will be sort of able to stand their own ground and follow their own code. Instead, they laugh.
You just hope, turning to the institutions now and that separation between the military, police, and the government still exist - and the media. Those separations are there as checks and balances on power. You just hope that the institutions can withstand what is going to be an ongoing assault on their jurisdiction.
Mia: Amelia, can you tell me this week that it's going to be OK.
Amelia: We haven't even talked about what's going on politically. This has all the sort of like Trump machinations. What we should keep in mind is that for people who don't agree with Trump's agenda he's not getting anything actually done.
He's running a reality show without the president's support. The failure to reform health care that happened last week in Congress shows that it's very difficult for Republicans to get anything done without the support of the President.
And so if that pattern continues, if you disagree with Trump's agenda maybe it will be OK because he has so checked out of the legislative agenda and process.