Former WH communications director kicks off Parents Weekend

Olivia Cooper

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci dove into his career history, President Trump and Washington and Lee’s namesakes at a sold-out event on Oct.5.

Scaramucci, sometimes referred to as “The Mooch,” was thrust into a controversial political spotlight after lasting just 11 days in the White House. He spoke in Lee Chapel to a group of about 500 students, parents and faculty members.

Scaramucci gave a detailed account of his life, beginning with his blue-collar upbringing by immigrant Italian-American parents, followed by his education at Tufts University and Harvard Law School. He then worked for Goldman Sachs in real estate investment banking, a job from which he was fired after just a few months, which he said was a predictor of his future in the workforce.

“My career started in an uneven, unpredictable way, and has continued in that way,” said Scaramucci.

Scaramucci went on to describe the moment when President Donald Trump told him he was running for office. Trump offered Scaramucci a job as a media surrogate—a position Scaramucci ultimately accepted.

Scaramucci told the audience he felt Trump understood the struggles

of today’s middle class. He did acknowledge Trump’s controversial reputation, but said he personally likes the president and thinks Trump does not get enough credit for the level of thought he puts into his decision-making.

Scaramucci said he sees himself as “socially inclusive and fiscally responsible.” He avoided using the words “liberal” and “conservative” to describe himself, arguing the words are overused.

Most notably, Scaramucci discussed his highly publicized firing from his position as communications director. He described the incident as “three curse words” in a phone conversation that was leaked to the press. He said being let go after such a short tenure was embarrassing, but he used the perseverance he acquired earlier in life to overcome the humiliation.

During the question and answer section of the speech, Washington and Lee’s President Dudley asked Scaramucci how he justifies his views on immigration after being raised by immigrant parents. Scaramucci said his family came to the U.S. legally, and he believes immigrants who come

into the U.S. illegally should find a path to legal citizenship.

A student in the crowd later asked Scaramucci his thoughts on the second half of the Washington and Lee namesake. Scaramucci said it would be a mistake to apply the moral standard of today to the past.

“We should embrace our cultural identity,” said Scaramucci.

Scaramucci encouraged the audience to work toward accepting the U.S. for its flaws and said those who do not are acting with “moral indignation and righteousness.”

Chairman of the Washington and Lee Contact Committee Skyler Zunk, ’19, said he is proud to have hosted Scaramucci.

  “Contact Committee sponsored Mr. Scaramucci because members thought he would productively add to conversations on campus,” said Zunk.

The chairman declined to comment on the exact amount the university paid Scaramucci to speak on campus but said the financier and political figure was relatively affordable compared to past lecturers.

Zunk also mentioned the speech’s historic sellout of tickets.

“We set a record in terms of the 500 tickets distributed in the first two hours of tabling,” Zunk said. “The committee did take a risk, but given the positive feedback from President Dudley, countless students, parents and professors, the event was a hit.”