Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci lasted just 10 hyperactive days in the West Wing, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a vision! In the apparent draft of a memo dated July 30—the day before he was fired by incoming Chief of Staff John Kelly—Scaramucci outlined a communications plan to save the White House from itself. The memo was first reported by Trump supporter Mike Cernovich in a Medium post Tuesday. But since Cernovich is a literal neo-Nazi conspiracist nutjob, you’ll be happy to know that BuzzFeed confirmed the authenticity of the memo and tracked down a version of its own.
The memo shows Scaramucci during a more hopeful time, when the Mooch was optimistic about righting the president’s capsized PR ship. The memo outlined five priorities to flip the proverbial script: “Improve the Culture,” “Comms is a Customer Service Operation — POTUS is the Number One Customer,” “Make the News — We Go First,” “Fill the Content Void,” “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.”
As far as mission statements go its contents are far less controversial than the Mooch himself. If anything, it comes off as a wee bit naïve. Yes, “improving the culture” and “professionalizing” the comms shop are nice goals, as is focusing the messaging, but the entire plan seems to forget the communications Godzilla in the Oval Office who blows up well-intentioned messaging by lying and not knowing anything and defaming other people before breakfast.
Here are a few notable portions of the Scaramucci Doctrine to make America love the president as much as he does (did):
Priority #1 — Improve the Culture
… Implement a series of professionalizing initiatives immediately. For example, no WH communication staffer goes home without returning all calls, emails, and texts.
A tad ambitious, but I like where your head’s at Mooch, particularly given this White House’s inability to conjure a comment on most things.
Priority #2 — Comms is a Customer Service Operation — POTUS is the Number One Customer
Comms need to humanize POTUS and burnish his image. For example, POTUS is the best golfer to serve as President. Perhaps, we embrace it with a national online lottery to play a round of golf with him….or a charity auction. POTUS has a funny and irreverent side which was shared with the electorate during the campaign.
… The media is an important Comms customer. POTUS can choose to fight with the media, but Comms can not. Comms should seek to de-escalate tensions with the media.
Not a bad try, but I think we’ve seen enough of his “funny and irreverent side.” We’re waiting on the competent human side.
Priority #3. Make the News — We Go First
…Comms needs to be run like a news channel with producers, scripts, and narration…
… the refined Roger Ailes theory- we exercise influence over the news cycle because POTUS and the government make news — (i.e. do things on a daily basis that matter). An effective Comms shop will dictate the news of the day on most days.
Comms should help POTUS convey a Reaganesque “happy warrior” image by sourcing and packaging these wins.
Happy warrior? We’re talking about the same guy?
Priority #4 — Fill the Content Void
…in addition to written word production (i.e. speeches, talking points, and press releases), the WH should vastly increases the amount of visual, video, and graphical images that it produces to communicate our message(s).
…People are fascinated by the lives of their Presidents and the operation of the White House. POTUS is the greatest TV star in history. Comms should produce video content that constructively operates as “The President Donald J. Trump” show. Obama scratched the surface of this. POTUS should take it to the next level.
The next level? “The President Donald J. Trump” show? Sweet Jesus.
Priority #5 — Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
…The message should be that businesses are investing more and creating more jobs because they have confidence. The source of their confidence is the election of a successful businessman to the Presidency. Obama bred uncertainty amongst the business community. Trump breeds confidence. Confidence=more jobs. Would the stock market have galloped from election day to year end 2016 if HRC had won? Of course, not.
The certainty we are all feeling these days is really something.
There was also a to do list!
Scaramucci To-Do List
-meet with General Kelly
-meet with Hope Hicks, Josh Raffel, Michael Anton, and Dina Powell and anyone else who you believe should be a top priority.
-meet with Steve Bannon (I want his insight and help. He presumably has an opinion on how Comms can operate more effectively)
-meet with heads of the various networks and leading journalists (like Maggie Haberman) to build a better relationship and solicit their input on how we can better work together
-meet with Directors of Communications from prior administrations (no need to re-invent the wheel on certain matters, particularly basic blocking and tackling stuff)
-meet with Ryan Lizza (not to litigate the past—to reset for moving forward)
-meet with leading Republicans who, whether for or against POTUS, have valuable insights to impart Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove are at the top of this list
-meet with Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell and their respective Comms teams