Anthony Scaramucci impressed in his first appearance as the new communications director for the Trump administration. As far as appearances are concerned, Trump was likely thrilled. Scaramucci paints an entirely different picture than Sean Spicer. Scaramucci with his coiffed hair, perfectly tailored suit, gold ring and his Breitling Avenger watch (nearly $6,000 retail) exuded the image Trump wants. For President Trump, it is all about appearances more than substance.
Scaramucci has almost zero experience in communications, especially on the political stage. I saw people arguing his role as a businessman requires excellent communication skills and, to a degree, that is true. However, as we’ve seen with President Trump, the world of politics is a whole different animal than the business world. Trump’s scorched earth playbook worked well for him in the primaries and somewhat in the general election campaign. But it hasn’t served him well while president as is evidenced by his abysmal job-approval rating. So we have no idea how Scaramucci will fair once a crisis hits. It will be soon because if we’ve learned anything in the first six months of this administration, it’s that they’re almost always in crisis mode.
Unfortunately, as much as people want to believe shaking up the communications team will benefit the Trump administration, it won’t, and that’s because of one individual: Donald Trump.
Trump will not change. Therefore, it doesn’t matter who he pushes out or who he brings in. Everything starts at the top and crap flows downhill. Even the best people will get caught in the crap avalanche and leave tainted by Trump. I see in the president the inability to change because I worked for someone for over ten years who reminds me of President Trump. It’s almost spooky how similar they both are and how I know Trump will never make the changes necessary for a successful administration.
Below are several ways in which my former boss and Trump are similar in how they approach their roles and the people around them.
The personality type: Donald Trump’s sycophants hail him as an “alpha male, ” and he’s not. But is he a beta male? No. Trump is just a jerk. He’s one that is confrontational and aggressive, and while at times he can be charming, he easily digresses into inappropriate behavior at the slightest provocation. Trump likes compliments but prefers to be feared rather than loved. He is self-centered and arrogant instead of confident.
An inability to focus on the big picture: It is a trait that used to drive me insane and one that eats away at Donald Trump to the core. At work, there might be a crisis going on with some of our technology infrastructure or a customer might be freaking out over something and my boss would yell about a stain on the carpet or a scuff mark on the wall. Trump obsesses over Russia and only to his detriment. Instead of sitting back, letting the investigation play out and focusing on health care reform and tax reform, he tweets and blames others for his troubles. The big ticket items get ignored, and his behavior is partially responsible for why he has yet to sign a significant piece of legislation.
The victim mentality: Everybody is always out to get Trump. He is always treated “unfairly.” The media hates him. The establishment hates him. Everything is always somebody else’s fault. My former boss is like that. Confronted with a screw-up, he’d refuse just to acknowledge it and move on. He had to point the finger of blame somewhere else, and it didn’t matter what bridges he burned to do it.
The toxicity affects other people negatively: Some wonder why people such as James Mattis or HR McMaster would work for President Trump. As I said earlier, jerks do have the capability at times to be charming and persuasive, especially outside the workplace. My boss managed to convince a neighbor and a former business executive to come work with us to assist in expanding our operations into South America. The neighbor, who I will refer to as “David,” was a terrific choice to bring in and I’d have given anything to work directly for him. But after only a year, he told my boss he’d had enough. The environment wasn’t worth it and he said privately that had he known what it would be like, he’d never have accepted the offer. I don’t expect some of the best people Trump brought aboard to stay very long. That’s the effect he has on people.
There are more examples, but these are the most striking similarities between President Trump and my former boss.
I wish Anthony Scaramucci the best of luck in his new role. I also hope he realizes that at some point, he will be the scapegoat for Donald Trump’s issues. I’ve seen it up close and personal.