Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci plans to host a live, online event on Friday afternoon to talk directly to the American people about the chain of events surrounding his abrupt dismissal after just 11 days on the job.
The event will be held during daytime hours and will be broadcast on various live platforms with help from former Fox News co-president Bill Shine. For those unfamiliar with Shine, he is listed in numerous sexual harassment lawsuits against Fox News and Roger Ailes.
According to Mr. Scaramucci, this is his opportunity to reach out to and communicate with President Trump’s base of voters and supporters.
The former Wall Street hedge fund guru told reporters that he anticipated being the communications director for six to nine months, stating that he was brought in as a “special purpose vehicle,” meant to disrupt the culture of leaking and counterproductive infighting among staffers.
CNN has been publicizing a document Scaramucci sent to right-wing political pundit Mike Cernovich on July 30, which outlines his plans to make sweeping changes to the Trump administration’s communications team. The memo is shown in full at the bottom of this article.
“An effective Comms shop will dictate the news of the day on most days,” Scaramucci wrote in the memo, which is said to be a rough draft. Under his direction, the White House was going to focus more on creating content directly for the people rather than responding to the “news of the day” others created.
Newly-appointed White House chief of staff John Kelly fired Scaramucci on Monday before he could implement his plan, which included establishing a friendlier relationship with the press. “POTUS can choose to fight with the media, but Comms cannot,” Kelly wrote in a memo.
Days before he was let go, Scaramucci gave a profanity-laced interview to The New Yorker, in which he talked trash about former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and other staffers. Priebus resigned soon after and was replaced by Kelly.
Not planning to go back to his former job as chief strategy officer at the U.S. Export-Import Bank, Scaramucci will reportedly announce his plans after Labor Day.
The document said he was planning to create a “complaint box” for members of the media to air their grievances.
Scaramucci also wanted to focus on more positive content from the White House so the communications team would spend a smaller portion of its resources responding to negative stories. He suggested the president place frequent op-eds in newspapers, do “modernized fireside chats” with Cabinet members, and take questions from citizens on live streams.
In his efforts to “humanize” the president, Scaramucci had planned to show Americans Trump is a real person. “For example, POTUS is the best golfer to serve as President,” the document reads. “Perhaps, we embrace it with a national online lottery to play a round of golf with him … or a charity auction. POTUS has a funny and irreverent side which was shared with the electorate during the campaign.”
This is the key—everything is possible with a good culture, nothing is possible without it.
possible, on their home turf to build bridges and foster better working relationships. WH
should leave old grudges behind, but never forget.
b) meet with WH and cabinet communication staff to seek constructive input and convey
that good ideas are welcomed regardless of the source. This should be an ongoing
modus operandi, not an isolated initiative.
c) Implement a series of professionalizing initiatives immediately. For example, no WH
communication staffer goes home without returning all calls, emails, and texts. People
may not like our answers—but they should always be treated professionally and
respectfully (obviously, this starts with the new Director of Communications)
d) Recognize good work in a consistent and formal way. Establish a meritocracy where
real contributions to Comms are recognized. Make it clear that horn tooting and
denigrating colleagues is unacceptable
e) No more threats about leaking and internal game playing – anyone who takes actions
that do not serve the President will be dismissed – period. We will eliminate the bad
eggs and send a powerful message to the remaining staff that well-intentioned mistakes
are acceptable, but misconduct is not.
f) Upgrade talent incrementally – prioritize culture. New communication staffers must
make others better/more effective. We need to be a great team, not a collection of
talented individuals with their own agendas.
g) Reach out and collaborate with Cabinet, Congress, the RNC, and surrogates and
validators throughout the country. People want to help POTUS succeed, but they need
to feel welcomed, appreciated and empowered. Comms, justifiably or not, has a
reputation as fiefdom that is difficult to work with. We need to improve the quality and
quantity of interactions between Comms and its various constituents.
Priority #2 – Comms is a Customer Service Operation—POTUS is the Number One
-before undertaking new and creative initiatives, Comms must more effectively handle
the daily/weekly blocking and tackling of a WH Comms shop
a) Comms needs to be structurally re-organized to serve its various customers
-a group dedicated to serving as a PR department for POTUS and his family
members. Comms need to humanize POTUS and burnish his image. For example,
POTUS is the best golfer to serve as President. Perhaps, we embrace it with a national
online lottery to play a round of golf with him….or a charity auction. POTUS has a funny
and irreverent side which was shared with the electorate during the campaign
-a rapid response group dedicated to handling hot issues/crises to insure more effective
responses while enabling Comms to stay on point/message and conduct normal
operations (i.e. the Clinton White House Lewinsky model).
-a strategy group to work cooperatively with colleagues throughout the WH to develop
communication strategies and specific executable plans that are coordinated with
Cabinet officials and the Hill for a select group of important issues/initiatives
-Responsibilities need to be clearly defined for certain important roles—managing
relationships with the Hill, Cabinet comms, and surrogates/validators. Clear structure
will provide better performance and accountability.
b) The media is an important Comms customer
– POTUS can choose to fight with the media, but Comms can not.
-Comms should seek to de-escalate tensions with the media.
-Comms will continue to challenge stories that are unfair/untrue, but also express
appreciation for good and fair coverage. Comms can be strong without being
-Comms should establish a constructive “complaint box” for the media to make
complaints. Where possible, Comms will seek to make changes that make
sense. Regardless, relations with the media will improve if their complaints are
welcomed and considered.
c) Cabinet members and their staff are customers too.
-Comms sets the message, but cabinet members will better serve POTUS if they are
supported and treated like members of POTUS’s team.
-Comms talent throughout the administration has been underutilized. This can be
remedied by sharing information freely, soliciting input, treating colleagues
professionally, and coordinated empowerment
d) Surrogates/validators are important customers. They need to be serviced,
supported, and coordinated better.
e) All Comms actions/decisions need to be evaluated through one and only one prism
—does it help POTUS. To this end, I will lead by example and make sure that my
overall conduct, tweets, internal and external comments meet this standard
Priority #3 Make the News—We Go First
a) Execution is everything!!! Diagnosing the problems is easy- fixing it will be hard
-Comms needs to be run like a news channel with producers, scripts, and narration
-there needs to be clear individual responsibilities, accountability, and a complete
dedication to the team/excellence
-Comms needs better players at many positions. We will give existing staff the
opportunity to raise their games, but expect to make changes in a considered, no/low
-Comms should not fix things that aren’t broken; but should move quickly (without
rushing) to fix things the numerous things that are
-Comms should assess and evaluate all work product and processes. “This is the way
it is done” is not an acceptable explanation. Communications tactics and strategies
should be evaluated based upon measurable metrics.
-Comms needs to act as a gatekeeper/air traffic controller over all external
communications from the small (i.e. email blasts) to the large (i.e. cabinet member
appearances on Sunday shows). To do this, Comms must be super responsive. For
example, Cabinet members need to be well-informed, well-prepared, and fully
supported in a timely manner (i.e. not on the morning of an appearance)
-Comms needs to do a much better job anticipating media follow-up and reaction. If we
say X, they will ask Y. We need to be prepared for Y. Most Ys are predictable. It is
Comms’ responsibility to be ready with a response and to have surrogates prepared for
the inevitable Ys.
b) the refined Roger Ailes theory- we exercise influence over the news cycle because
POTUS and the government make news—(i.e. do things on a daily basis that
matter). An effective Comms shop will dictate the news of the day on most days.
c) Comms must control who gets on the air/talks to the press….always. We want our
people talking to the press. We just want it to be coordinated and effective. Comms
should arm and empower our people. Comms is a service operation (not the bad cop)-
we want our people to look better/succeed.
d) Comms needs to better explain how POTUS’s actions are helping Americans. For
example, deregulation is an abstract concept to most voters. We need to illustrate, with
real life examples, how lifting burdensome regulations produces jobs
e) Comms needs to start earlier (chronologically). Tomorrow will be won
today. Tomorrow morning is too late.
f) Every Comms message needs to have a nexus to Make America Great Again and
g) Comms needs to equip POTUS with opportunities to make many more positive
announcements The ratio of positive to negative is out of balance, and the
responsibility to correct this lies with Comms. There are achievements/wins throughout
the government that go unpublicized. Comms should help POTUS convey a
Reaganesque “happy warrior” image by sourcing and packaging these wins. Comms
should study the ratio of “good,” “neutral,” and “negative” communications from POTUS
and help move the ratio towards the “good.”
h) Comms should use Kellyanne Conway more. She has consistently been the
President’s most effective spokesperson, and she provides a direct link to the
President’s historic electoral victory.
Priority #4 – Fill the Content Void
a) to quote Obama Director of Communications,Dan Pfieffer, “there is an insatiable
appetite for content” and “traditional news outlets don’t have the resources to produce
the amount of content that the internet requires on a 24/7 basis”
-in addition to written word production (i.e. speeches, talking points, and press
releases), the WH should vastly increases the amount of visual, video, and graphical
images that it produces to communicate our message(s).
-for example, Comms could produce short (3-5 minute) videos with selected visitors to
b) comms need to identify and engage a broader network of surrogates/validators to
make TV appearances, write op-eds, etc. The traditional media has a significant (albeit
finite) amount of tonnage. Either we fill it, or they will
c) POTUS should regularly provide op-ed pieces to major publications. The op-eds will
(almost always) produce the story of the day, and POTUS will be setting the terms of
the discussion. Op-eds provide a vehicle for him to articulate his policies and ideas in a
well-reasoned, thoughtful and persuasive way. Most Presidents have used op-eds
sparingly to maximize effect. But, the media world has changed, and POTUS should
write frequent op-eds to advance his agenda (and use adversarial newspapers to his
d) People are fascinated by the lives of their Presidents and the operation of the White
House. POTUS is the greatest TV star in history. Comms should produce video
content that constructively operates as “The President Donald J. Trump” show. Obama
scratched the surface of this. POTUS should take it to the next level.
e) Rather than traditional press conferences, POTUS should take questions from real
citizens via Facebook live and/or other social media platforms.
f) Comms should consider a range of ideas including a modernized fireside chats where
POTUS sits with a Cabinet member (and/or senior government official) to discuss the
relevant issues. Perhaps, Sarah or Kellyanne could act as a moderator. These videos
should have running times of between 15-20 minutes.
g) text polling should be evaluated as a means to produce engagement. Obviously, the
polling topics would need to be carefully considered.
h) find ways to connect POTUS with Presidential history to capture the importance,
power, and grandeur of the office. Perhaps, Comms could produce “this day in
Presidential history” videos.
-There is an inherent challenge in flooding the zone with content while broadcasting a
focused message. However, the audience and mediums for each objective are quite
different. For traditional media outlets, Comms needs to do a considerably better job at
producing a focused daily message that is reinforced and coordinated throughout the
Priority #5 – Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
a) “it’s the economy stupid” should be “it’s the Trump economy.” The media (and the
voters) will make POTUS own the economy (which is doing very well) if it goes the other
way, so he should own it now. Comms needs to emphasis the economy early and often
b) The message should be that businesses are investing more and creating more jobs
because they have confidence. The source of their confidence is the election of a
successful businessman to the Presidency. Obama bred uncertainty amongst the
business community. Trump breeds confidence. Confidence=more jobs. Would the
stock market have galloped from election day to year end 2016 if HRC had won? Of
c) Comms will coordinate with Commerce, Treasury, State, etc to identify a steady
stream of examples of the Trump administration providing support to small and medium
size businesses. POTUS can take credit and publicize these wins (big and small) while
complimenting the great work of people in various departments/agencies.
d) Every positive piece of economic data needs to echo throughout the Comms ecosystem,
and Comms needs to find ways to connect positive economic data to real
people. The growth in new jobs is life changing for every day Americans. Comms
needs to bring a spotlight to these people/stories
e) When the media or Democrats attack POTUS, Comms should pivot to the
economy. For example, real Americans do not care about palace intrigue in the White
House. POTUS is leading and fostering an economy that makes their lives
better. That’s what real people care about.
Scaramucci To-Do List
-meet with General Kelly
-meet with Hope Hicks, Josh Raffel, Michael Anton, and Dina Powell and anyone else
who you believe should be a top priority.
-meet with Steve Bannon (I want his insight and help. He presumably has an opinion
on how Comms can operate more effectively)
-meet with heads of the various networks and leading journalists (like Maggie
Haberman) to build a better relationship and solicit their input on how we can better
-meet with Directors of Communications from prior administrations (no need to re-invent
the wheel on certain matters, particularly basic blocking and tackling stuff)
-meet with Ryan Lizza (not to litigate the past—to reset for moving forward)
-meet with leading Republicans who, whether for or against POTUS, have valuable
insights to impart Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove are at the top of this list
-meet with Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell and their respective Comms teams