There’s a big difference to me between being a Republican who has always stood against Donald Trump, and a Republican who criticizes the President when it is convenient. George Will, Bill Kristol, and George Conway fit into the former category (notwithstanding Conway’s relationship to his wife), while Omarosa Manigault and Anthony Scaramucci fall decidedly into the latter category (Joe Walsh, I think, is somewhere in the middle).
To Scaramucci’s credit, he understands how the cable-news game is played. He stuck by Trump even after he was fired as long as it got him airtime on Fox News, but when he faded into the din of Trump Republicans, he failed to be relevant. A few weeks ago, however, he gently chided the President over his “go back to your country” comments and found himself some newfound relevance, which he’s now riding into the editorial pages of The Washington Post:
President Trump’s online insults directed at me on Monday were predictable after I publicly said that he’s unfit for office. The tenor of his abuse only reinforces my thinking: I can no longer in good conscience support the president’s reelection.
This isn’t a Road to Damascus moment; my concerns have been building publicly for a while. And I’m not seeking absolution. I just want to be part of the solution. The negatives of Trump’s demagoguery now clearly outweigh the positives of his leadership, and it is imperative that Americans unite to prevent him from serving another four years in office.
“My public praise of the man was over the top at times,” he added, “but my private estimation of him was more measured.” Really, Anthony? I don’t believe you.
Not to take Trump’s side in all of this, but reminder: Scaramucci served all of 11 days as the White House Communications director, although he was not fired for any of the reasons outlined in Trump’s tweets. He was fired because he became a liability to the President. Pro-Trump or anti-Trump, there’s little reason to listen to Scaramucci, save for his value as a buffoon who provides the occasional dose of comic relief (and I’ll grant that he’s provided plenty of comic relief, and in these trying times™, there’s value in that). Moreover, as Bill Kristol suggested, there might be some nominal value in Scaramucci’s anti-Trump pivot.
However, I hope that no one is buying the idea that Scaramucci is working with ex-cabinet officials and other military people in an effort to mount a Republican primary challenge. First off, that’s not going to happen. The Republican party has basically already rigged the primary to ensure there will be no credible challengers. More importantly, anyone that works with Scaramucci immediately loses any credibility as an opponent. If their candidacy wasn’t already dead, it would be by virtue of its association to Scaramucci.
.@BillKristol made an interesting point on tv tonight:— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) August 20, 2019
as eye-rolley as Scaramucci’s transformation from Trump lover to hater may seem, he might create a permission structure for former supporters who would never listen to a never-Trumper.
On MSNBC, Anthony Scaramucci says he's working with "a very group of Republicans" — including "ex-cabinet officials, military people," and others — in hopes of mounting a Republican primary challenge to Trump pic.twitter.com/ueyXpbRfYy— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 20, 2019