Scaramucci denies Trump gave him the green light to attack White House chief of staff John Kelly

  • Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci denies that President Trump gave him the green light to publicly attack chief of staff John Kelly.
  • "Those are personal statements of mine, they have nothing to do with anybody else," Scaramucci tells CNBC.
  • Scaramucci also defends the Trump White House's high turnover rate.

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci denied a report on Wednesday that President Donald Trump gave him tacit approval to publicly attack chief of staff John Kelly.

CNN reported on Tuesday that Trump was aware of Scaramucci's public jabs at Kelly in recent days, and that the president had not intervened and had not asked his former White House communications director to stop. Trump's silence has effectively "emboldened" Scaramucci to continue cutting down Kelly in public, according to CNN.

Scaramucci pushed back during a phone interview Wednesday on CNBC's "Halftime Report." He said Trump "has not" given him the green light to discuss Kelly. "It's not something that I would even talk about," he added.

"Those are personal statements of mine, they have nothing to do with anybody else, and I don't know why that's being reported," Scaramucci said of the CNN report. "I'm entitled to my opinion [and] General Kelly has his opinion of me."

Kelly, in his first big act as Trump's chief of staff, fired Scaramucci in July — just under two weeks after Trump appointed Scaramucci as communications director. Since then, Scaramucci has criticized Kelly on several occasions. In a recent interview with Bloomberg News, he referred to the retired Marine general as "General Jackass."

High turnover? No big deal, Scaramucci says

In the CNBC interview, Scaramucci also played down the Trump White House staff turnover. That followed a week of high-profile departures that culminated Tuesday with Gary Cohn's resignation as director of Trump's National Economic Council.

Scaramucci told CNBC that Trump's experience as a business owner means he has developed a more forceful management style than his predecessors.

"He's an entrepreneur, so he's going to bring an entrepreneur's skill set to the game. That means there will be potential conflicts and a little bit of cross roughing, and some turnover," Scaramucci said, noting that he, too, was forced out of the Trump White House. "I'm a casualty" of the high turnover rate, he said.

If Trump's West Wing were to be viewed through the lens of a start-up company, Scaramucci said, "I don't think the turnover is that big of a deal."