Nobody thought Anthony Scaramucci would last long as President Donald Trump’s communications director. That’s why Mario Cantone said he decided to play “The Mooch” on The President Show instead of holding out for Saturday Night Live. “I had to strike while the iron’s hot. He might be gone by October!” the actor said in an interview with The Daily Beast last week.
At the same time, it seemed inconceivable — so to speak — that Scaramucci would be ousted from his position after just 10 days on the job. But one person who saw the writing on the wall was director Rob Reiner.
When The Daily Beast caught up with Reiner on Saturday, who was at this past weekend’s Politicon event in Pasadena, California to promote his new LBJ movie, he had a feeling Scaramucci might be on his way out of Trump’s good graces.
“I think he’s going to get mad at Scaramucci for stealing [some of his thunder],” Reiner predicted of the president’s infamous jealousy. “He got mad at Steve Bannon when he was on the cover of Time magazine.”
It’s true. When the hosts of Morning Joe held that cover up on camera just a few weeks after Inauguration Day and suggested the president might not be the one “calling the shots,” Trump tweeted in response, “I call my own shots, largely based on an accumulation of data, and everyone knows it. Some FAKE NEWS media, in order to marginalize, lies!”
As Reiner sees it, Trump’s jealousy likely flared up again this past week when Scaramucci's profanity-laced tirade to The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza captivated the media. But even before news broke that Scaramucci had been escorted from the White House, Reiner said he doesn’t “think it’ll matter who Trump surrounds himself with. After all, as ‘The Mooch’ himself put it during one of his impromptu phone calls into CNN, ‘the fish stinks from the head down.’”
“Scaramucci says the fish stinks from the head. That’s an old, famous expression. And it’s true,” Reiner said. “So I don’t care who’s there, it all comes from Trump.”
“He’s beyond unqualified,” Reiner continued, speaking about Trump. “He’s got mental issues and he doesn’t have any interest in government, he doesn’t have any interest in policy, he just cares about himself. And enriching himself. So it won’t matter who’s doing what, he’ll do anything to make himself the center of attention.”
As for the profane screed that apparently led to Scaramucci’s dismissal, Reiner added, “It didn’t mean anything to me, because Trump is that way. When you have a president who says you can ‘grab a woman by her pussy,’ to me, you’ve already broken all the barriers. That somebody might say that Steve Bannon sucks his own cock, who cares? We don’t have the time, I think, to spend our time focusing on those things.”
“We have somebody who is inept, mentally ill and dangerous running the country and we’ve got to find a way to not have that happen anymore, because we’re facing real serious stuff with North Korea and other issues,” he said. “I think that, slowly, Republicans are starting to realize that being tied to Donald Trump is not in their best interest. They don’t respect him, they never have respected him, and now they don’t fear him. When you have that combination — no respect, no fear — you pretty much are sidelined. Now it’s just a matter of time.”
As special counsel Robert Mueller continues his investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, Reiner said he is confident that “there will be crimes.” Then, it’s just a matter of “whether or not they want to impeach him and whether or not he can be held accountable and be indicted while he’s still in office and whether or not he will quit just because he doesn’t want that anymore.”
“There’s no president there,” Reiner added. “I mean, he occupies that office, but we don’t really have anybody leading the country right now.”
A frequent presence on cable news, Reiner has been one of Hollywood’s most outspoken voices against Trump and his closest advisers for more than a year. It’s a stance that recently landed him in the crosshairs of conservative media websites like Breitbart, Newsmax and TheBlaze after he tweeted that “the fight to save Democracy is now an all out war.” His right-wing critics seemed to imply that he was inciting violence.
“I mean, it’s moronic,” he told The Daily Beast of the backlash. “I’m not talking about actual war, I’m talking about political war.” As he put it, anyone who’s “not smart enough to figure out when a guy says ‘all out war,’ it means we’re in an all out battle, politically, for the soul of the country,” is not someone whose criticism he takes to heart.