Send in the Clown: Scaramucci versus the Leakers

Русский: Comedie italienne (Arlequin, Scaramouche, Capitan, Mezzetin) (Photo credit: Wikipedia, this work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or less.)

by Thomas L. Knapp…….

In Italian  comic theater, Scaramouche is a clown, the boastful poltroon whose antics frequently bring him to grief. Presumably new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci’s name is related  to that tradition.

His personality seems tailored to it as well: He’s off to a running start with the boast that he’s going to put a stop to White House leaks. How? “I’ll fire everybody, that’s how I’m going to do it. You’re either going to stop leaking or you’re going to be fired.”

That would be cool, if he meant it and if the people he pink-slipped wouldn’t be replaced. But even draconian measures like mass firings won’t stop the leaks.
In Washington information is currency and there will always be staffers who are willing to spend a little of it in pursuit of their own careers and political goals. A White House job is at most a four to eight year gig, and unless you’re the president himself (maybe even then!) the goal is to use it to move up in the world. A positive relationship with the press comes in handy on that front.

Also, a good many White House leaks are approved of, and perhaps even originate with, people Scaramucci can’t fire. That includes one Donald Trump, aka the Leaker in Chief, aka POTUS. Sometimes it makes sense to let a piece of information — for example, a trial balloon concerning a tentative policy shift — come out via leak instead of formal public announcement so that it can be quietly quashed in the event of negative public response.

Scaramucci will fail in his boast. The White House will continue to leak like a sieve. He’ll either get used to it and turn his attention to other matters, or get fired over it, or both.

That’s a good thing. It’s exactly what Scaramucci would want if he subscribed to the high school civics version of politics. Per that mythos, “the people” are boss and Donald Trump and Anthony Scaramucci are mere hirelings. Any information they have, we’re entitled to, and leaks are as good a way to get it to us as any.

Of course Scaramucci and other members of the political class don’t believe that for a minute. To them, “the people” are so many piggy banks to be emptied and cows to be milked in pursuit of power.

Fortunately for us, reality has come into alignment with the mythos. The age of government secrecy is over. If Scaramucci doesn’t believe me, he might want to ask Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, or Julian Assange.  As Jesus said, “there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.”


Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.

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9 thoughts on “Send in the Clown: Scaramucci versus the Leakers

  1. Wow! What can I say, Thomas? You have absolutely nailed it! And…very succinctly, indeed! Thank you!

    As you’re aware, time doesn’t stand still…Priebus has been fired subsequent to the publication of your piece. “Scary Moochie” was only the mouthpiece. But, this guy is no more than the latest nightmare on the scene…witness his sorry predecessors Corey Lewandowski and Michael Flynn as evidence of Trumps actual disgust with the “American way”. Trump is a megalomaniac who needs some serious “trumping”. So far, the system appears to be working. But…for how long?

    That Trump has apparently approved of the mere presence of this jackass in the White House is unnerving and totally disgusting. But…alas, not surprising.

    Keep up the good work, sir!


  2. President Trump is an extraordinary man, and like many great men in history, he has human quirks and idiosyncrasies that can confound, but do not detract from his effectiveness of the overall big picture. At the same time he has the innate ability to instantly identify a problem area, and then immediately go to work to solve it. Many, including book intellectuals, either can’t comprehend this or might realize it somewhat but refuse to admit it.

    Compounding the lack of understanding of President Trump, is the fact that he thinks and acts on a much higher level than most people. President Trump has the guts and hard work ethic to take on long standing problems that others didn’t have the will to meet head-on like he is doing.

    As far as Scaramucci goes, you wouldn’t take a Chihuahua to a dog fight, you’d take a Pit Bull. So drastic and dirty has the 24/7 onslaught of President Trump and his team been, that I can hardly blame him for bringing in someone who also has the guts to fight fire-with-fire.

    1. Ben,

      RE: Compounding the lack of understanding of President Trump, is the fact that he thinks and acts on a much higher level than most people.

      Yep! Right up there with all the other meth, crack, opioid and hallucinogen enthusiasts! 😉

      Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

      The only thing I find “extraordinary” about this Trump fiasco…is that he was elected President by the crazed voters of this Republic. Different strokes, I guess. [sigh]


      1. Dickford,

        You’ll have to be more specific as to what President Trump has done wrong for me to take your remarks seriously. Insults alone do not count, and whether or not President Trump is universally liked or not is not nearly as important as being respected, especially overseas, which he is. Maybe not liked personally, but respected.

        When someone rocks the establishment’s boat, there most certainly will be pushback as we are witnessing.

        Frankly, I’m much more interested in why Russia ended up with 20% of our uranium reserves courtesy of the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton, with the coinciding “coincidence” of $145 million then deposited to the Clinton Foundation, than hearing about the seemingly endless stream of meaningless meetings with Russians that President Trump’s team has had that add up to ZERO. I would like to know where did our American uranium end up? N. Korea? Iran? For Russia’s own use?


        1. Ben, you may take my comments any way that suits your fancy: It’s still a free country.

          But, I said what I meant and meant what I said: Our current president is insane…for starters.


          1. If it was against the law to be insane, 3/4 of the Democrats in Congress would be in jail.

  3. BTW, the 1952 movie, ‘Scaramouche,’ is on TCM, Ch 169 Comcast, August 7 at 10PM. Good 4-Star entertainment with a great ending starring Stewart Granger, Eleanor Parker, Janet Leigh, Mel Ferrer and others.

  4. Ben,

    RE: “If it was against the law to be insane, 3/4 of the Democrats in Congress would be in jail.”

    Maybe. That still beats 100% of the Republicans! 😉

    Anyway…I’m pleased that you’ve admitted to Trump’s insanity. That’s progress…

    Your turn.


    1. Well, I was being conservative with my 3/4 estimate, and thanks for keeping it clean. However, in all seriousness what happened to our uranium that was given to the Russians? And this is not a Republican or Democrat issue, it’s an American story. It might take awhile to find out, but if it ended up in N. Korea or Iran “it” will hit the fan. They could probably talk themselves out of trouble if it was Iran, but they’re nailed if it was N. Korea.

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