I’m not a fan of this administration, which is news to no one who knows me or reads what I write. That extends to the newly named White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Full disclosure, to me, she comes across as cold, mean, irritable, obtuse, and condescending, happily carrying the water for her boss. But my personal impressions are neither here nor there. They’re just that — mine, and inconsequential to what others think.
That said, I cringed yesterday morning as I watched a clip of her new boss, Anthony Scaramucci, who was just named as Communications Director for the administration. His job is to keep folks focused on the message. As in singular. Message, not messages. There has been more than a bit of mixed messaging (not to mention those leaks!) coming from the White House in past months. Scaramucci is the guy charged to keep it tight moving forward.
Word on the street is that Huckabee Sanders, her old boss Sean Spicer, and chief of staff Reince Preibus were adamantly opposed to the hire. Spicer resigned immediately after the news was announced. Other rumors speculate that Scaramucci is being groomed to take over for Preibus. But again, that is word on the street information, purely speculative.
At the tail end of a thirty minute interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Scaramucci was asked whether or not cameras would be allowed back into the briefings, as has been the custom, and as was allowed on Friday during his first official press briefing as Communications Director. This is how Scaramucci responded:
.@Scaramucci to WH press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “I’d like to continue to use the hair and make up person” https://t.co/wiXGTpKYBq
— CNN (@CNN) July 23, 2017
Oh no he didn’t. Oh, yes, he did.
I’ve watched this clip a few times and each time I come away with the same impression of watching a man on national television using the platform to slam his employee, a woman, for her hair and makeup. He is employing snark to humiliate his female subordinate. Publicly. Without shame. Cue the Internet outrage.
Scaramucci tweeted out his explanation in response to said Internet outrage:
For the record, I was referring to my hair and make up and the fact that I like the make up artist. I need all the help I can get! #humor
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) July 23, 2017
For someone who was just named Communications Director for the White House, America’s home, if you need a tweet to clarify your comments, well, you’re not quite meeting your performance expectations, now, are you? And the assertion that he was employing humor suggests that if you find yourself outraged, you are clearly humorless, which is a common justification used by those trying to bully and intimidate others.
If you ask me, and no one did, but here I am offering my two cents anyway, this was a power move from a man who knew his employee had lobbied against him. This is a man putting a woman in her place, using a tool as old as time, discrediting her appearance. It’s on page eleven of the Trump Management Manual. Scaramucci has learned from the master.
Full disclosure, I am too tired to be outraged about this. I am growing immune to the paper cuts of incivility that flourish in this Trump White House. Open hostility towards women, people of color, liberals, Democrats, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, well, that’s just business as usual these days, in this America I hardly recognize, where our President tells us again and again how great we are.