White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci told a reporter he wants to kill government leakers, called White House chief strategist Steve Bannon a cocksucker, and suggested he'd fire all of the assistants to the president.
The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza on Thursday published a full account of the angry tirade he heard from Scaramucci over the phone on Wednesday night, headlined "Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon." Moments after the conversation, Scaramucci posted a bizarre tweet that called for the FBI to investigate the "leak" of his financial disclosures — which were already public.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was tagged in the tweet, prompting speculation that Scaramucci held him responsible for the leak. Scaramucci later deleted his original claims there had been a "felony," and he denied that he had accused Priebus of anything.
But on Wednesday, Scaramucci was heated in his criticism of anyone who leaked information from the White House.
“What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the president’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people,” Scaramucci told the New Yorker.
He told Lizza that he believed Priebus had been a confidential source to the New Yorker. Scaramucci threatened to fire all of the assistants to the president to smoke out leakers, and he said that Priebus would be resigning soon.
“Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said.
Scaramucci added that he was not seeking publicity for himself personally.
“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he told the New Yorker. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the president. I’m here to serve the country.”
At the end of the call, he told Lizza that he was going to get on Twitter.
"Yeah, let me go, though, because I’ve gotta start tweeting some shit to make this guy crazy," Scaramucci said.
After the article was published, Scaramucci defended his statements as "colorful language."
"I sometimes use colorful language. I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @realDonaldTrump's agenda. #MAGA," he wrote.
Later Thursday, Scaramucci tweeted that he had made a mistake — not for saying what he did, but in trusting a reporter.
"I made a mistake in trusting a reporter. It won't happen again," he tweeted.
Scaramucci called Lizza, and neither man has said there was any sort of agreement that the conversation would be off-the-record or confidential.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Fox News that while Scaramucci's language may not have been appropriate in most circles, his words were a sign of his passion for the administration's agenda.
"We are focused on the agenda, moving forward, and sometimes people in the staff get pretty passionate about that," Sanders told Fox News. "Hopefully, they'll reel some of their language in."
A White House official told Fox News that they found Scaramucci's language disgraceful.
"This is getting out of hand. I am honestly getting concerned for my safety in the office tomorrow," the official told Fox.
In response, Sanders said that she hated that a colleague felt that way.
"I love coming to work every day," Sanders told Fox. "I consider it a privilege and I certainly feel very safe in the building and happy to be here."
In response to questions about whether Priebus would resign, Sanders said he remained part of the team — while adding that all White House staff serves at the pleasure of the president.
On Thursday, sources told BuzzFeed News they believed that Priebus would be resigning soon.
"The stuff Anthony is pulling is unreal," a source close to the administration said. "If I was Reince, I would be like, 'Fuck you guys, I'm out.'"
Claudia Koerner is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Claudia Koerner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.