Move comes 10 days after Wall Street financier took the job
WASHINGTON—Anthony Scaramucci has been removed from his position as White House communications director, just 10 days after his appointment to the post.
Mr. Scaramucci, who is nicknamed “The Mooch,” was removed at the urging of former Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, who was sworn in as White House chief of staff Monday morning. Mr. Kelly is seeking to impose more discipline in the White House, two administration officials said.
After the swearing-in ceremony—which Mr. Scaramucci attended—Mr. Kelly returned to his office, where he informed Mr. Scaramucci in a one-on-one meeting that he was being forced to resign, a White House official said.
Mr. Scaramucci is expected to retain his position at the U.S. Export-Import Bank, a White House official said, which he asked to keep when he gave his resignation.
In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that Mr. Scaramucci would be leaving his role as communications director. “Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team,” she said.
Mr. Scaramucci didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
The move comes four days after the New Yorker magazine published an expletive-filled interview with Mr. Scaramucci, in which the Wall Street financier attacked other top staffers in the White House, including Mr. Kelly’s predecessor Reince Priebus.
Mr. Scaramucci had told fellow White House officials in recent days that he knew it was a possibility that his New Yorker interview could result in him being ousted, said two people familiar with the conversation. But in a White House that has driven an unceasing news cycle for much of the past six months, with one breaking news story quickly overshadowing the last, Mr. Scaramucci told colleagues that he thought it might blow over.
Mr. Scaramucci—who had reported directly to President Donald Trump while Mr. Priebus was chief of staff—had told the president on Sunday that he wanted to report to Mr. Kelly, according to a Republican close to the White House. But Mr. Kelly felt the communications director was unable to be a “team player” and found his comments about his colleagues unbecoming, the person said.
As news of the ouster emerged, Mr. Kelly sat in the White House’s East Room for a planned Medal of Honor ceremony. The chief of staff chatted with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin ahead of the ceremony and appeared in good spirits.
Top advisers to Mr. Trump, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner, were supportive of Mr. Kelly’s move, according to a White House official.
Mr. Scaramucci—who attended Mr. Kelly’s swearing-in earlier on Monday—is the fourth White House official to depart in the last 10 days. Mr. Priebus’s ouster was announced in a tweet from the president on Friday. Former press secretary Sean Spicer announced his resignation a week earlier in protest of the hiring of Mr. Scaramucci. And Michael Short, a senior press assistant, resigned on Tuesday, hours after Mr. Scaramucci said he planned to fire him.
Mr. Scaramucci was the administration’s second official communications director. Mike Dubke, who previously held the post, resigned in May.
In a tweet sent early Monday morning, Mr. Trump touted what he said were his economic accomplishments in the White House so far, and wrote: “No WH chaos!”
White House officials had spent the weekend anticipating further reshuffling, as Mr. Kelly took control of an often-turbulent West Wing. One concern that may now be alleviated: Mr. Scaramucci’s vow last week to fire the entire communications office if he couldn’t determine which officials were leaking to the media.