Scaramucci Shoots His First Leaker to Encourage Everyone Else to Shut Up

New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci seems to have arrived with a mandate to turn off the dripping faucet of internal White House leaks:

“I’m committed to taking the comms shop down to Sarah [Huckabee Sanders] and me, if I can’t get the leaks to stop,” Scaramucci told POLITICO.

The axe fell today on assistant press secretary Michael Short for allegedly leaking.

Like the Comey firing, this was handled ugly. Short apparently found out he was fired by reports on Twitter

During the Seven Years War, British Admiral John Byng was shot by firing squad on the deck of his flagship. He was executed for not doing his utmost but the real reason was that the British had suffered a series of reverses at sea and there was a perceived need to put some steel in the spines of other admirals by holding them to the same standard expected of sailors. Voltaire’s take on the execution has become immortal:

“in this country, it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others” (Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres)

Was Short a leaker? Probably. It seems like leaking was a sport in the White House comms shop. His real sin was that he was an RNC guy who was closely aligned with Spicer and Priebus. He’d also worked on the Trump campaign for a while before quitting and then coming back during the transition. I suspect that Short was already identified as someone who was going to be pushed out and Scaramucci fired him just to make an example.