Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci Thursday praised his successor Hope Hicks, who resigned her post Wednesday, but said morale inside the White House is “terrible” under chief of staff John Kelly and he expects even more people to leave.
“I have no problem with him firing me,” Scaramucci, who lasted just 11 days in his position, told CNN’s “New Day” co-host Chris Cuomo. “Everybody has an opportunity and right to change their staff, particularly, when they’re chief of staff.”
But with Kelly, it’s a “cultural thing,” said Scaramucci. “Morale is terrible. The reason why the morale is terrible is that the rule by fear and intimidation does not work in a civilian environment. So here we are. It’s messed up. It will be up to the president to figure out if he wants to fix it or not.”
Scaramucci had nothing but good things to say about Hicks, however.
“Washington is a rough place,” he said. “There is not a malicious bone in Hope’s body. She is just a wonderful person, always trying to do the right thing, cares about everybody, not interested in the conflict, in the ego rub and the internet bashing that I experienced and other people have experienced. It’s a big loss for the president.”
People always felt Hicks was fair and honest, he continued.
“If you went to her with something and said, ‘Okay, what do you think of this?’ she would give a very honest interpretation,” said Scaramucci. “There was none of that political nonsense or the tea leaves of the situation. I have an enormous amount of respect for her. She will have a phenomenal career.”
Hicks came under fire after telling the House Intelligence Committee that sometimes she had told “white lies” on behalf of President Donald Trump. Further, Hicks had stayed mostly out of the public eye, but she was touched by scandal over her romantic relationship with Rob Porter, the senior aide who was fired in February after his ex-wives accused him of domestic violence.
“Tell me a person that hasn’t told a white lie. I will identify that person as the big of liar in the room,” said Scaramucci. “She’s in a closed-door session. They’re asking her stuff. It is under oath. The integrity of every sentence, every syllable. They asked if she told any white lies, and she said yes.”
He added that it was “unfair’ that someone leaked her testimony, considering it was given during a closed committee session.
“Now they are trying to color this woman who is an extremely gifted professional,” said Scaramucci. “Tell me somebody who hasn’t told a white lie.”
Meanwhile, Scaramucci said he holds Kelly responsible for the Porter situation.
“He had the information related to Porter,” said Scaramucci. “I don’t know why he would allow Hope to date Porter.”
He further accused Kelly of trying to “cover up” the information about Porter, and that he tried to get others to cover up for him.
“You have to have him sit in the chair and ask if it’s a white lie,” said Scaramucci. “You will figure it on out quickly. But the Rob Porter situation for me, I like Rob. I was asked if I had seen any information about Rob, and I didn’t. There was a dossier on Rob.”
It will be up to Trump, meanwhile, to decide about Kelly’s fate.
“I guess he is an honorable Marine,” he said. “He has to look at himself in the mirror and say what he knew and when he knew it. I talked a little bit of smack about two guys that we were trying to get rid of, he fires me in five seconds. These guys are smacking up their wives and he is trying to keep them in the White House.”
Scaramucci said that given the morale, he thinks there will be more departures. He also complained that Kelly has denied several of Trump’s “strongest loyalists” including himself, access to the White House.
“I think it’s a mistake going into a midterm election, and into the another presidential election, when you have Trump loyalists that want to help the president,” said Scaramucci. “I could care less I got fired. I’m not moving off my friendship with the president or the support of his agenda. But you’re going to block me?”
He also claimed that there is a “culture of intimidation” and that White House staffers are “afraid to talk to each other.”
“There is a martial order and then there is order where there is like good harmony,” he said. “There are two different types of harmony. There’s lots of different ways you can describe order. Sometimes order is not a good word.”
Scaramucci also added that he hopes Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, can get his security clearance issues cleared and that he can remain in the White House, as he is a “very valuable contributor.”