Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, wrote a scathing column in early 2016 aimed at then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, warning that the abandonment of “common decency out of primeval fear” echoed some of the worst examples of U.S. history.
“Unbridled demagoguery has driven the GOP to an inflection point from which there is no turning back,” Scaramucci wrote in a January 2016 op-ed for FoxBusiness.com titled “The Bankruptcy and Restructuring of the Republican Party.” The column ran just weeks before the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.
“If a populist prevails in the primary, as appears increasingly likely, the party faces either devastating defeat in the general election or a new, unrecognizable identity. In either scenario, a large swath of the GOP electorate will be forced to eat crow and reevaluate its affiliation.
“Call it, if you will, a moral debt restructuring, one caused by the reckless behavior of a man who knows a thing or two about bankruptcy,” he continued, in a thinly veiled reference to Trump.
Scaramucci, who supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s 2016 bid for the GOP nomination and later Jeb Bush’s campaign, never mentions by name Trump or any other Republican presidential candidate in the column — a point Scaramucci noted in an interview Sunday with CNN’s Jake Tapper. However, his references to populist candidates leading in national polls and discussions about vetting immigrants make it clear he is directing his criticisms at Trump’s candidacy.
The column is a blistering assessment from Scaramucci of Trump’s overall tone and rhetoric.
Asked about the column on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Scaramucci said that he was supporting another candidate at the time and he’s a very competitive person.
“Whatever you’re trying to suggest by bringing this story up, I actually do not care,” Scaramucci told Tapper.
He added, “If I said some things about [Trump] when I was working for another candidate, Mr. Trump, Mr. President, I apologize for that. Can we move on off of that?”
Scaramucci would eventually go on to support Trump during the general election, but his public statements during much of the primary campaign were critical of Trump’s candidacy. Those statements offer a window into his past thinking about his new boss.
Scaramucci has directly addressed several previous comments about the President and indicated his desire to move forward. During his first press briefing, he apologized for calling Trump “another hack politician” who is “anti-American” in a 2015 appearance on Fox Business.
“I should have never said that about him,” Scaramucci said.
In a tweet on Saturday, Scaramucci acknowledged that he was deleting old tweets, writing, “Past views evolved & shouldn’t be a distraction. I serve @POTUS agenda & that’s all that matters.”
Trump himself appeared to address Scaramucci’s critical statements in a tweet on Saturday: “In all fairness to Anthony Scaramucci, he wanted to endorse me 1st, before the Republican Primaries started, but didn’t think I was running!”
During the primary campaign, however, Scaramucci criticized Trump for appealing to the voters’ fears with misinformation and alarmism and attacked him for targeting low-information voters.
“There is no doubt we need to secure our southern border and ensure the vetting process for all immigrants is air-tight, but betraying common decency out of primeval fear reeks of World War II-era attitudes that led to the internment of Japanese-American citizens and rejection of European-Jewish refugees — events that are a stain on our history,” Scaramucci wrote in his 2016 Fox Business column.
“America has always accomplished far more acting as courageous frontiersmen than weak reactionaries.”
Scaramucci concluded his 2016 FoxBusiness.com column writing, “Democracy is a device that ensures the people shall be governed no better than they deserve. I know America deserves better.”
Scaramucci also criticized Trump during the fall of 2015.
Speaking with Fox Business in November 2015, Scaramucci said Trump’s personal attacks on candidates were hurting the Republican Party.
“I am not saying that Donald Trump isn’t brilliant — what he’s done has been masterful for Donald Trump — but I think it’s been very hurtful for the party,” Scaramucci said, noting Trump would need to be more presidential to win the primary.
Scaramucci added that he didn’t have a problem with Trump and that the additional ratings he brought would be good for the party. But he said that Trump’s personal attacks were hurting the campaign. He also compared Trump to Bluto, actor John Belushi’s character from the film “Animal House.”
In a column for Fox Business’ website in November 2015, Scaramucci attacked Trump for targeting low-information voters.
“Trump’s divisive rhetoric targets low-information voters and won’t play well with the general public, either,” he wrote.
During a discussion with former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers in November 2015 on his show “Wall Street Week,” Scaramucci said of Trump’s comments about Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen keeping interest rates low for political reasons: “It preys on people that have low information about these things, of course it’s nonsense.”