There is little doubt in the mind of anyone that Reince Priebus’ exit from the White House today had everything to do with Anthony Scaramucci’s arrival. Multiple sources have stated that Priebus advised against bringing Scaramucci on as White House Communications Director. When Scaramucci got the job anyway, he went on an expletive laced rant accusing Priebus of leaking information.
Scaramucci became wealthy due to his participation in two hedge funds – Oscar Capital Management and SkyBridge Capital. He was a key element of the Trump campaign and expected a role in the White House after the election. In preparing for that role, SkyBridge Capital was sold in January of this year. The purchasers were RON Transatlantic and HNA Capital, a Chinese financial services company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed at the time, but subsequent financial disclosures have pegged the value at $180 million for the asset manager, which had $11.4 billion in assets under management. That valuation, while generous, does not seem to be extreme.
Nevertheless, Priebus advised Trump not to bring Scaramucci on as an advisor because of the transaction. That seems to be the origin of the feud between Priebus and Scaramucci. At the time Trump sided with Priebus ostensibly because he wanted elements within the White House to understand the political process.
The first six months of the Trump presidency, however, have not been productive. Health care reform appears dead and the president has no other legislative victories to trumpet. Coupled with Trump trading Priebus for Scaramucci, essentially, likely indicates that Trump is prepared to try even more unorthodox approaches to the presidency to achieve his goals.
After the nature of the White House this year, one has to wonder how much more unorthodox it can get. We’ll have to wait to find out.