Anthony Scaramucci had nothing but glowing praise for new White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders when he made the rounds on morning shows on Sunday.
“I think Sarah does a great job. She’s an incredibly warm person. She’s incredibly authentic,” the new White House communications director told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union,” even adding that he’s letting Sanders take the bigger office while he settles on a smaller one because she has the tough job of taking hits from the press.
Then, at the end of the lengthy and, at times, heated interview, Scaramucci said there’s only one thing he’s asking of Sanders.
— CNN (@CNN) July 23, 2017
“Sarah, if you’re watching,” he said. “I love the hair and makeup person that we had on Friday, so I’d like to continue to use the hair and makeup person.”
Friday was Scaramucci’s White House news briefing debut, when he announced that Sanders is taking over the press secretary job just hours after he started his.
It’s unclear whether Scaramucci was referring specifically to the person who does Sanders’s hair and makeup, or more generally to whoever does that job for White House staffers who appear on camera, including himself. But some immediately took issue with Scaramucci’s comments, saying they implied that Sanders’s physical appearance is related to how well she does at her highly public job.
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) July 23, 2017
Scaramucci later clarified his statement, saying he was referring to his look and not Sanders’s.
For the record, I was referring to my hair and make up and the fact that I like the make up artist. I need all the help I can get! #humor
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) July 23, 2017
Sanders said in an email to The Washington Post that Scaramucci was complimenting the makeup artist for doing a good job.
“Nothing else should be read into it,” she said.
Scaramucci spent nearly three decades on Wall Street and earned the nickname “The Mooch.” Like President Trump, he came from New York and has built a reputation as a salesman.
Sanders ascended to the press secretary role after Sean Spicer abruptly resigned Friday. The Washington Post reported that Spicer’s resignation was in protest of Scaramucci’s installation as the new communications director, as Trump overhauled his press team. The Wall Street financier would’ve been Spicer’s superior.
The interview, which also touched on Scaramucci’s deleted tweets, meandered to Sanders after Tapper asked about on-camera news briefings. The White House has, on several occasions, banned television cameras and audio broadcasts of the briefings. Friday was the first on-camera briefing in weeks.
“If you’re asking me for my personal opinion, and maybe the president will be upset with me for giving my personal opinion, we should put the cameras on. There’s no problem. I don’t think we need to have the cameras off,” Scaramucci said, cautioning that whether that happens is ultimately up to Trump.
Tapper also asked whether Scaramucci will make regular appearances at the podium. Scaramucci said that’s Sanders’s job and that she’s “phenomenal” at it. As deputy press secretary, Sanders has taken over the podium in the past weeks as Spicer took on a less visible role.
“I want to do everything I can to make her better at that podium … Like every athlete that’s training for the Olympics, every day we got to make ourselves incrementally better,” Scaramucci said.
Vanessa Williams contributed to this story.