Anthony Scaramucci, President Donald Trump’s short-lived former communications director, on Sunday criticized the president’s response to the weekend white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and blamed strategist Steve Bannon’s “nonsensical” influence for it.
Trump’s response to the rally, during which a car attack on a crowd of counterprotesters left one person dead and more than a dozen others injured, has been widely panned because he failed to call out the white supremacists and instead condemned violence and hate “on many sides.” Some of the white supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville proclaimed their support for the president.
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The White House issued a clarification following the uproar Sunday saying the president’s condemnation “of course … includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazis and all extremist groups.”
Scaramucci, who was fired after 11 days, told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in his first interview since leaving the White House that he “wouldn’t have recommended” the initial statement.
“I think he needed to be much harsher as it related to the white supremacists and the nature of that,” Scaramucci said on the Sunday morning program “This Week.” Referring to Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, he said: “I applaud Gen. McMaster for calling it out for what it is. It’s actually terrorism. Whether it’s domestic or international terrorism, with the moral authority of the presidency, you have to call that stuff out.”
Scaramucci attributed the president’s failure to do so to the fact that he “likes doing the opposite of what the media thinks he’s going to do” and his “impression that there is hatred on all sides.” But he said the advisers around Trump need “to be blunt with him,” and “I certainly would have never suggested him doing that.”