Jul 26, 2017

White House staffers on edge after first Scaramucci firing

AP

Michael Short, senior assistant White House press secretary, found out yesterday from Politico that he was going to be fired by the highly empowered incoming White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci.

It's the first of what may be many sackings, with Mooch telling reporters that he was prepared to "fire everybody" to stop leaks.

The White House was in shock — many staffers on edge, with an atmosphere of extreme fear and concern. Maggie Haberman tweeted: "Michael Short is the first show trial in the Scaramucci era."

  • It wasn't supposed to happen that way. Mooch wanted to send a signal, but not in such a brutal way.
  • It was a miscommunication that went on for hours. Politico's story posted at 9:15 a.m. A little after noon, having heard from no one inside, Short resigned before he could be fired.
  • After finally hearing from Mooch around 6 p.m., Short texted Axios' Jonathan Swan: "He's being supportive of me. Feels bad about the situation but the seed had been planted months prior." (Late in the campaign, Short, who was frustrated by what he viewed as a dysfunctional and internally divided campaign, decided to resume working from the RNC full time, though he continued to run rapid response for the remaining debates and coordinate with the campaign through Election Day. Some of the Trump originals viewed the departure from New York as a sign of disloyalty, and the story was ultimately told to President Trump, who ordered Short be fired.)
  • Short was among the White House's Republican National Committee alumni. So the move undercut Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, leaving him with one fewer loyalists.
  • TIME's Zeke Miller tweeted: "Scaramucci sounding much more like a Chief of Staff than a Comms Director at the moment."

Go deeper

Federal court temporarily halts "Remain in Mexico" program

Migrant wearing a cap with U.S. flagin front of the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Photo: Jair Cabrera Torres/picture alliance via Getty Image

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's earlier injunction on Friday, temporarily stopping the Trump administration from enforcing the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of migrants seeking asylum have been forced to wait out their U.S. immigration court cases across the border in Mexico under the policy. The Trump administration has long credited this program for the decline in border crossings following record highs last summer.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus updates: WHO raises global threat level to "very high"

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization raised its global risk assessment for the novel coronavirus to "very high" Friday, its highest risk level as countries struggle to contain it. Meanwhile, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow this morning tried to reassure the markets, which continued to correct amid growing fears of a U.S. recession.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected about 83,800 others in almost 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Bernie's plan to hike taxes on some startup employees

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced legislation that would tax nonqualified stock options at vesting, rather than at exercise, for employees making at least $130,000 per year.

The big picture: Select employees at private companies would be taxed on monies that they hadn't yet banked.