Scaramucci makes friendly debut with media
If President Donald Trump, who refers to the media as “fake news”, wants his staff to use a more conciliatory approach with journalists, new communications director Anthony Scaramucci may be implementing such a shift – for now.
The Wall Street financier and Republican fundraiser walked into the White House briefing room on Friday and immediately did what Sean Spicer, the outgoing press secretary, did not do on his first day in January: engage, in a friendly manner, with reporters.
Wearing a blue tie and an American flag pin on a dark suit, Scaramucci bantered with correspondents, pledged to be transparent and even made respectful remarks about CNN, the network with which Trump and Spicer have sparred repeatedly.
He made fun of himself, joking about his short stature and apologising to Trump from the podium for having called the New York businessman a hack politician in 2015.
“He brings it up every 15 seconds, all right?” Scaramucci said to laughter, referring to the president.
“I should have never said that about him. So, Mr President, if you’re listening, I personally apologise for the 50th time for saying that.”
Reporters peppered Scaramucci with questions on press-related issues that have dogged the relationship between the Trump presidency and the journalists that cover it.
Did he support having briefings televised? “I obviously am committed to being transparent because I’m standing here. But I’d like to talk that over with the president,” he said.
He noted CNN had apologised when it reported something false about him and he had accepted the apology.
Scaramucci announced the new press secretary to take over from Spicer, who resigned earlier on Friday, would be Sarah Huckabee Sanders.