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National Politics

'It Was An Accident:' Anthony Scaramucci Discusses His Time As White House Communications Director

Miami Herald/ Getty Images
Anthony Scaramucci answers reporters' questions during the daily White House press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House July 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Anthony Scaramucci has become a regular voice in the national media for his perspective on the Trump administration and global markets. The former White House communications director was infamously fired from the position after only 11 days in office. But he worked within the Trump administration for more than a year prior and gained insights into the inner workings of the administration. 

Back in August, Scaramucci penned an op-ed explaining why he could no longer support the president. He has since become an adamant supporter of the impeachment inquiry and predicts that the president will no longer be in office by November of next year. The managing partner of SkyBridge Capital is speaking in Fort Lauderdale this week about global markets as part of the NAIOP Speaker Series. We spoke with Scaramucci on Sundial about his time in the White House, the protests in Hong Kong and the crisis in Venezuela. 

WLRN: You've had a long career as an investor and wealth manager long before you got into politics. Why did you want to join the Trump White House as the communications director?  

Scaramucci: Well, it's a very long story, I grew up in a blue collar family, so I didn't really have a network when I got to Goldman Sachs as a wealth advisor. And so one of the ways I was able to build and galvanize a network, was to do Republican Party fundraising at the early stages of my career. That developed into eventually presidential candidate fundraising. And so I had worked for Gov. [Mitt] Romney and then in the 2016 cycle, worked for both [former Wisconsin Gov.] Scott Walker and [former Florida] Gov/ [Jeb] Bush. And so when Mr. Trump won the nomination, he recruited me in, primarily as a Republican fundraiser. And then, unfortunately and accidentally, I started doing a lot more media for him because we were very short-staffed. And then I was supposed to be the president's OPL director, his office of public liaison and Reince Prebus blocked that. And then when Mr. Trump realized he had a problem with Reince Prebus and Steve Bannon, he brought me in to remove them.  


Let me come back to something you just said though -- accidentally. That's an interesting answer. What do you mean by that?  


Well, there's a lot of things that have happened in my life that are improbable and accidental. And so for me, him winning, I don't think any of us thought he was going to win, himself included. He then wins. He puts me on his executive transition team. I didn't expect him to do that. And then he implored me to go work for him. I said, "He's the American president." So, you know, I love my country. I lived the good part of the American dream. And I said, "OK, I'll give this thing a shot." And by the way, my wife did not want me to do it. She ended up filing for divorce on me while I was joining the administration. So it was a really difficult time for me personally.  

I mean, we've subsequently repaired our relationship. But truth be told, a lot of the stuff that happened was accidental. I didn't totally plan that. And I've spent 30 years less my 11-day fiasco in the White House. I spent 30 years as an American entrepreneur and a business person, which I am more comfortable doing.  

You consider the proximity, especially for South Florida, to Latin America. I mean, there are a lot of investors in South Florida now eyeing so many situations throughout the region, but especially in Venezuela. And of course, the whole story continues surrounding Juan Guiado and whether or not he's the real president. And the push continues to get Nicolas Maduro out of power. How do you see the situation in Venezuela playing out? How does that impact our economy?   

Well, you know, right now, I would say it has negligible impact on our economy. The real tragedy for Venezuela is if you look at their natural resources, you look at their coastline and you look at the culture of Venezuela over one to 100 to 300 years, they have a tremendous culture and they have an educated class of people and they are  arguably one of the wealthiest countries in the world, if you just look at their territory and their natural resources. And so the big tragedy there is that their political system is a failed political system. And so what we know about socialism or the tenets of socialism, it's never worked because human interest is disaligned with socialism. And so what you get is a very thin layer of aristocrats, including government officials at the top. And then you get 98 or so percent of the country that's impoverished and very disincentivized to do anything.  

And so that's why you have the food shortages and the potential foment of a revolution there. So, one, if we can figure out a way to create a structural change there and move it towards a liberal democracy or move it towards some form of capitalism again, I think there'll be a flood of capital, not only from South Florida, from frankly, the rest of the world. And there'll be major opportunities to take advantage of. But what we know studying history and studying the United States, the great experiment of the United States, we know that we're at our best when there is a harmony between what the government is doing and what the private enterprises are doing. And in fairness, we've got to get those things in harmony so that we don't have too big of an income divide and we don't have too big of a of a level of dissension in the social contract.