Donald Trump has gone full Sopranos with his latest hire – right down to Scaramucci's apology over his old tweets

Scaramucci, Scaramucci, will he do the fandango? He will. He’ll dance on that podium to his master’s crazy tune, denying the blatantly obvious, stating the palpably false, yelling 'Fake News' at CNN and The New York Times, informing the world after every defeat that the Don is winning, winning, winning

Matthew Norman
Sunday 23 July 2017 15:46
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Anthony Scaramucci was forced to publicly apologise to Donald Trump over his deleted tweets
Anthony Scaramucci was forced to publicly apologise to Donald Trump over his deleted tweets

When most of the planet reckons you’re running a mafia crime family from the Oval Office, and things are beginning to fall apart, who better to hire to speak for you than someone by the name of Anthony Scaramucci?

The one disappointment about Donald Trump’s new consigliore is his nickname. “The Mooch”, which suggests indolence, lacks that authentic Sopranos flavour (Little Pussy Malanga, Paulie Walnuts, and so on). For reasons outlined below, Tony Two-Face would be stronger.

The sobriquet apart, Scaramucci seems ideally cast for the role of White House communications director in succession to dear old Sean Spicer, who was helped to throw himself off the Trump pleasure cruiser on Friday and now sleeps with da fishes.

With his Harvard Law/Wall Street buccaneer background, a slickly abrasive manner, and hair an unlikely shade of raven for a 53-year-old, this is just the guy any frantically worried Don would want fronting an operation with the Feds and media closing in.

He may have zero experience in the field, but he was making his bones on the Street, selling incomprehensible hedge fund derivatives, while Spicey was running errands for the effete Republican establishment.

Donald Trump: 'A US president has complete power to pardon'

And he’s got some balls on him. Within hours of Friday’s allegiance-swearing ceremony, when he became a made man, he was burying the evidence. Admittedly, deleting tweets is futile in the age of the screenshot. But, by going through the motions, he showed proper respect and loyalty to the capo di tutti capi.

Some of those tweets praised Hillary Clinton (“incredibly competent”) and Jeb Bush (“will make a great President”). Others argued for stronger gun control (“just common sense”), attacked climate change deniers, and called Islam “a religion of peace”. In one, from 2012, he labelled himself “for gay marriage, against the death penalty, and pro-choice.” Last year, he tweeted “Walls don’t work. Never have, never will.”

As for the 2015 TV interview in which he called the godfather “a hack politician. I’ll tell you who he’s going to be president of – you can tell Donald I said this – the Queens County bullies association” – look, what matters isn’t what you believed yesterday, or indeed your whole adult life. What counts is what you sincerely believe this minute, and Tony Two-Face has changed his opinions about everything, including Trump.

“I should have never said that about him,” he said when addressing the press from the Sean Spicer Memorial Podium on Friday for the first time. “Mr President, if you’re listening, I personally apologise for the 50th time for saying that.”

Now the reformed sinner has become a true believer and a serious White House player, the least of the problems he will find in his overflowing in-tray is that Trump’s promise to repeal and replace Obamacare has crumbled again – this time in the Senate.

Even Fox News commentators can't support Donald Trump Jr

The worst of them is, of course, Russia. Donald Jr and Jared Kushner have been summoned to testify before a congressional committee. Trump’s palpable desperation to fire Robert Mueller, although thwarted for the moment, illuminates his terror of what the special counsel investigating collusion might find. As does his musing about the presidential right to override the justice system of the US, which prides itself on being as a nation of laws. “All agree the US President has the complete power to pardon,” he tweeted yesterday.

All do not agree. Since no President has ever tried to pardon himself, which must be the notion implicit in that “complete”, this is uncharted constitutional territory. But all may agree that the tweet points to a deeply troubled state of mind.

From the first episode of The Sopranos to the denouement that left the viewer uncertain about whether the family were about to be iced in the diner, a sense of almost inevitable doom hung over the central character.

There was always that slither of a chance that Tony Soprano would continue beating the odds and survive at liberty into peaceful retirement. But with the FBI on his case, close associates turning rat and talking to the Feds, and rivals encircling him trying to scent blood, it felt less like a question of whether the axe would fall than when and how.

More and more, this is how it feels watching Donald Trump. Even now, he might just brazen it out, as he has for decades. But you wouldn’t bet on it.

Sean Spicer: I resigned to give the new communications staff 'a clean slate'

“Whaddaya gonna do?” as Soprano often asked with a fatalistic shrug. What Trump’s gonna do is fight dirty with every weapon – obfuscation, blanket denial, lawsuits, half-truths, outright lies, veiled threats, overt threats, blackmail and bribery, firing lawyers, hiring lawyers, smearing investigators, projecting his sins on to his enemies – that strategy has until now served him well.

Yet, by openly contemplating using the pardon for his family and himself, he cements the impression that the story is driven by an internal dynamic too powerful to be reversed by even a hyper-aggressive communications director.

Scaramucci, Scaramucci, will he do the fandango? He will. He’ll dance on that podium to his master’s crazy tune, denying the blatantly obvious, stating the palpably false, yelling “Fake news!” at CNN and The New York Times, informing the world after every defeat that the Don is winning, winning, winning.

But whatever Tony Two-Face wrote in that deleted tweet, walls do work in this one regard. If they cannot be prevented from inexorably closing in, they will eventually crush the besieged.

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