It was quite the scene Monday night at Anthony Scaramucci’s Hunt & Fish Club in Times Square, where he’d invited the faithful to celebrate him and his book glorifying President Trump and his own 11—not 10!—days as White House communications director.
The guys who were there, and it was mostly guys, were the sort of guys who aren’t terrible guys or great guys and, you know, they used to be Democratic guys, or at least some of them. Queens son Andrew Cuomo might have felt at home. A lot of the bridge-and-tunnel people there, though, followed Trump, because Trump is kind of one of them.
The Scaramucci set is garish and fiercely familial and smart and somewhat anti-intellectual. Anthony even boasts in his book that there was hardly a book in his house growing up. He’s a working class Long Island kid who liked motorcycles and made a fortune. Nice suits and cigars, Yankees tickets, pretty wives, and the ability to take care of your 85-year-old mother, who, by the way, was at the party. To some extent this is the dream Trump sells.
“Drop the white nationalism nonsense and come back into the mainstream of America,” Scaramucci told me when I asked if he had a message for Steve Bannon. The urban coalition at the steakhouse was strong, and at least half of that coalition doesn’t exactly vibe with the anti-Semitic white nationalists.
The steakhouse—which the Mooch owns with three friends and which the New York Post memorably described as “Where Beauties Trawl for Sugar Daddies”—may or may not have been named after John Gotti’s Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park, but Gotti is no more and the Gambino family isn’t what it once was, and the Mooch is a fast-talking New York Wall Street guy who got too jazzed up one night and decided to call up a reporter and talk massive amounts of shit about all his new co-workers and especially that asshole Steve Bannon. There were a lot of men, dressed at least like they have money, clamoring to get a selfie with The Mooch.
Scaramucci’s book is about the Blue-Collar President, but a lot of it is about Anthony, and his place was packed with Scaramucci family members, family friends, financial industry friends, and the PR people the young financial industry guys hire. Young Goldman Sachs guys waited patiently to get their book signed. He manages billions and he appeared to look like a hero to them.
All the ostentatious New York Trump supporters were there. Pastor Darrell Scott, who introduced himself to me as “the black guy with Trump,” took selfies with right-wing Long Island talk radio host Dave Zere, who was wearing a jacket from Macy’s and a custom shirt with his initials DMZ embroidered on the breast pocket. When I asked Dave, a Long Island lifer, what he thought about Scaramucci having been a Democrat all those years, he just shrugged and said, “If you’re not a liberal at 20, you have no heart, and if you’re not a conservative at 40, you have no brains.”
The party favors were a nod to old New York Italianism. Little blue collars with the book title embroidered on them sat atop the stacks of promotional books flanking the step-and-repeat where Anthony smiled with his fans. There was a cake made with cannoli cream filling by someone named The Cake Don. The dessert was a diorama of sorts: The base was Scaramucci’s book, the middle layers were the traditional red, white, and blue, and on the top, like a wedding cake, was a tiny Trump seated at a tiny presidential desk, and standing beside him with was a miniature marzipan Scaramucci. If anyone ever thought Anthony’s time in the White House made him a joke, this party gave him the ability to be in on the joke and create the narrative he drives home in his book: The Comeback Kid.
I took a healthy sampling of the fashion in the room, asking at least 50 guys what they were wearing. After all, I wear a pinky ring, so I figured I was fitting right in.
Most of the young men were wearing Brooks Brothers, which seemed to surprise some of the older men. As one party-goer put it, “It’s mostly Jews and Italians here. I would have expected most of them to be wearing something flashier.”
One man declined to answer, saying, “Hey, I gotta be careful! Being a white man in America these days is terrifying.”
Other than Brooks Brothers, there were mostly custom Italian suits from small tailors in the old country, and a couple of guys who got shirts and suits made to order via Hong Kong.
Scaramucci was wearing a Brioni suit and tie, which he twice told me was from Saks Fifth Avenue. His mom, Marie, told me, “All my kids have great taste because I was in the business, the makeup business.” Marie told me that Anthony was extremely fond of Hermès ties; however a source close to The Mooch said he had been over them for quite some time.
The whole place reminded me of that moment in Goodfellas right before the famed “funny like a clown” speech, when Ray Liotta, red-faced, is laughing hard. His white suit, with long sharp collar point, is perfectly tight around his bulging neck.
Is Scaramucci a turncoat Democrat and simply an opportunist with all hustle and no heart, or is he a kid who made good and inspires the working class to strive higher even if they didn’t grow up with a lot of books in the house? “I used to only wear 100 percent polyester,” he told me while he signed books for the masses.
The Blue-Collar President got a ringing endorsement that night, and possibly the only one that mattered.
“I love his book. I love it because my family is in it and he wrote it,” Maria Scaramucci said. “Did I vote for Trump? Yeah. But I don’t like Kelly, and you can say it, I don’t care. I don’t like what he did to my son.”
Anthony offered a softer opinion on White House chief of staff John Kelly than usual. “Kelly is a military guy and doesn’t have the disposition for a civilian job, but I wanna say, I appreciate his service… the service he has done for this country, and I mean that,” he said.
Everyone had mouthfuls of steak and handfuls of whiskey, and good suits.The lighting was warm and flattering, and the meat was perfectly rare, served with a warm popover. The dream.