- Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and top strategist Steve Bannon tried desperately to block the hire.
- Scaramucci made pretty clear over the weekend that his number one job is flattering and appeasing his boss.
- In Monday morning tweets, Trump showed that he will continue with his obsessions and free wheeling commentary no matter who the communications boss is.
In a normal administration, this could be the week that the White House stages a comeback.
President Donald Trump just hired smooth-talking, well-liked former hedge fund executive Anthony "Mooch" Scaramucci to take control of a dysfunctional White House communications operation. The president is hitting the road to honor American soldiers in West Virginia and Ohio. The Senate is set to vote on one of Trump's biggest campaign promises: repealing Obamacare.
But this is not a normal administration. And this is not likely to be the week that things get back on track.
Scaramucci, blocked from multiple attempts at other White House jobs, could wind up being a shrewd hire. He was affable from the podium on Friday and did a mostly smooth job on the Sunday news shows. But behind the scenes, his hiring shows just how messed up the West Wing really is.
Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and top strategist Steve Bannon tried desperately to block the hire. Priebus didn't want another top advisor who reports directly to the president. Bannon didn't want another "globalist" allied with National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and the president's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Now Priebus is chief of staff in name only, lacking any major allies or real authority in the White House. Bannon is said by White House insiders to be sulking, bitter and considering quitting.
And Scaramucci, for all his charismatic delivery, made pretty clear over the weekend that his number one job is flattering and appeasing his boss. In an extraordinary moment on CNN's "State of the Union," the new communications director spoke directly to his most important viewer: "If I said some things about him when I was working for another candidate, Mr. Trump, Mr. President, I apologize for that. Can we move on off of that?"
He also heaped on the superlatives about Trump after spending much of his time on Friday saying how much he loved the president.
And by Monday morning it was clear that Trump will continue with his obsessions and free wheeling commentary no matter who the communications boss is. "Drain the Swamp should be changed to Drain the Sewer — it's actually much worse than anyone ever thought, and it begins with the Fake News!" the president tweeted, undercutting Scaramucci's early efforts to repair broken relationships with the media.
He followed up with an extraordinary tweet ripping his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and practically begging him to resign.
"So, why aren't the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?" the president tweeted.
On health care, instead of sending a bill to the president's desk, the Senate remains mostly lost on the issue with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell currently short of the votes for an expected effort on Tuesday to begin debate on the issue.
Should McConnell clear that hurdle, it remains unknown which Obamacare repeal effort will get a final vote and unlikely that any will pass. Senate Republicans simply do not fear the power of an unpopular president enough to take a big vote they could regret on health care.
And once again, Russia headlines are likely to blow out any coverage of what the White House is calling "American heroes" week.
Kushner submitted testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday ahead of a morning grilling by the panel. In an 11-page, statement he attempted to clear himself. "I did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government," he wrote.
Kushner testifies Monday before the Senate intelligence panel and on Tuesday before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. You can expect leaks from both appearances.
So far, chaos from the Trump administration and dysfunction in a Congress nominally controlled by Republicans has meant next to nothing for markets. Economic fundamentals remain fairly strong, the Fed is going slow on policy normalization and no trade wars have emerged so far.
That may not last.
The longer the health care mess drags on, the less chance there will be that a tax reform package gets moving this year and passed by early next year. There still isn't any path forward on lifting the debt limit or funding the government past September. Failing on Obamacare doesn't really matter to Wall Street. Failing on tax reform or flirting with default will matter a lot.
And at that point, all the White House melodrama and dysfunction could cease to be a sideshow circus and become a serious threat to the economy.