SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
What a week in the White House. Hope Hicks hits the bricks. Jared Kushner in a fix. Pres kicks Jeff Sessions' sticks. Tariffs on steel - will McMaster be nixed? Lots more names in that mix. We're joined now by Anthony Scaramucci, the financier and former White House director of communications for President Trump for a few days.
Mr. Scaramucci, thanks so much for being with us.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI: It's a pleasure to be on. Good morning. How are you, Scott?
SIMON: I'm fine. Thank you, sir. You - I know you don't have access at the moment, but you keep in touch. What's it like in the White House these days?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, listen, I've been very honest about it. I think that's one of the reasons why I don't have access. You know, the morale's very low. There is a martial control situation that doesn't really work well in a civilian environment. And the - I expect there'll be more exoduses from the White House now unless that system changes. And so one of the problems is when you speak out about something like that, people get sore at you. And so, you know, as an entrepreneur, if we don't hack that system, we don't change the way we're communicating and just be more upfront the way American business leaders are with each other, it's not going to change. And I predict it'll get worse.
SIMON: Martial control sounds like you mean a general, General Kelly.
SCARAMUCCI: Yeah. I mean, he's running the thing off of a rank-and-file system as opposed to an organizational structure that works well in a civilian political system or even in a civilian entrepreneurial organization. You have to remember, the president is an entrepreneur first. He's a business leader second and then a media star. He's now a political leader. All of those blend out to something that's very different from martial command-control management. And so when you think about the people that are in the mix with him, they're not going to operate well with this.
The other big issue is you've got to play it straight. And you can't, you know - you're not going to be able to cover up the situation that happened with the wife beating. And so let's play it straight. The general's had a valorous career. I've got nothing against him personally. But this sort of management style is hurting that team. And so you got a choice. You can either speak out about it and take in incoming, or you can say nothing about it, and let it continue to get worse.
SCARAMUCCI: And so me, I've been a disruptive person my whole career. I've got no problem speaking out about it.
SIMON: Well, let me ask you about President Trump's - the leadership specifically, something that I don't think can be pinned on General Kelly. Republicans, Democrats and the NRA all think they have promises from President Trump on gun policy. Which one of them is he lying to, if I might put it that way?
SCARAMUCCI: Oh, I don't think he's lying to anybody. I think he's got to cut that situation in a way where everybody at that table feels a little bit disappointed. Unfortunately, the way our system works, we've got to have conciliation. And we have to have compromise in our system. The other big issue for our system is we have very disparate feelings about these things. And so one thing I firmly believe, just looking at the historical documents, we're going to have a Second Amendment. People are going to have the right to bear arms.
But we have to figure out a way to stop those arms from getting in people's hands that are going to hurt innocents. And so the president's well aware of that. He wants to respect the freedom that the NRA wants. But he also wants to figure out a way to ensure safety for innocent people. So I think every person at that table should be appropriately disappointed leaving the table. The president's good at that. And I think a deal will get cut that intersects those values for the country.
SIMON: One last, I think, pretty blunt question we've got in 40 seconds left - why is President Trump more critical of Alec Baldwin than he is of Vladimir Putin on this week when Putin shows an animated video of Russian missiles smacking Florida?
SCARAMUCCI: I, you know - I think if you look at the President Trump style with ISIS as an example - he doesn't like to tip his hand. He was critical of the last administration by declaring departure dates, and so forth and things going on in the Middle East. And I think he's been tougher on Russia and Vladimir Putin than any other administration, at least the last two.
SCARAMUCCI: And so I would say, stay tuned to that. He's pretty predictable in that way.
SIMON: Anthony Scaramucci, former White House director of communications for President Trump. Thanks so much for being with us.
SCARAMUCCI: Nice to be with you, Scott.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.