Aug 26, 2019

Scaramucci on Trump's "America First" strategy: "It's Steve Bannon nonsense"

Anthony Scaramucci. Photo: David Becker

Former Trump aide-turned-critic Anthony Scaramucci told Axios' Dan Primack in the Pro Rata Podcast on Monday that President Trump's "America First" strategy could result in the U.S. losing the trade war with China.

The big picture: Scaramucci, who was a short-lived White House communications director, had always supported Trump's decision to take on the Chinese and use tariffs as a negotiation tool. What Trump has failed to do, he said, was get European allies on board. Scaramucci told Axios earlier this month that if Trump "doesn't reform his behavior, it will not just be me, but many others will be considering helping to find a replacement in 2020."


  • On bilateral trade negotiations: "It's the 'America First' strategy. It's Steve Bannon nonsense, and the Trump nonsense about a bilateral deal means that the United States isn’t 'subservient' to any other country. What they're missing is that you may have the same exact grievance as the Europeans. Therefore, why wouldn't you use the strength of your allies? I don't know too many wars, Dan, where people win the wars unilaterally. You usually have a series of allies ... and they help you resolve a conflict."
  • On a potential recession: "It depends on timing. I don’t think you're going to get a recession before the election. ... We can be fairly predictive of what's going to happen over the next 3–5 quarters and the economy is quite strong. … The swinging wildly into trade negotiations is sort of stalled everybody. If he had just sat on the sidelines and was a cheerleader for the economy and espoused the good policies that he was deploying, there'd be no need to even be talking about a recession."
  • On Trump reaching a China trade deal before 2020: "I think that's likely. ... My prediction is [China is] just shaking him up right now. He'll probably cut a deal with them to hopefully bolster his chance to win re-election. ... We have 5 more years of this nonsense, that could do a tremendous amount of damage. It's very likely they’ll get a trade deal done, and it's very likely the Chinese are enjoying what he's doing to the alliance, to the world, the U.S. and our allies."

Go deeper: Listen to the full Axios Pro Rata podcast

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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

4 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.