“This is my second press conference,” said Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s short-lived former White House Communications Director to journalists Wednesday afternoon in the James Madison Room at the Princeton Club in Manhattan. The Mooch was behind the podium moderating, just like old times, except this was a faux press conference with a faux “Trump Family,” led by film, television and stage actress Gina Gershon (Bound, Showgirls), who plays Melania Trump.
Ms. Gershon has nailed perfectly the First Lady’s accent, her hair style and attitude for the musical parody review, “The First Annual Trump Family Special,” that will run Thursdays from Sept. 13 through Dec. 6 at 9:30 at the Triad on West 72nd St. The show is created by Danny Salles and features book, lyrics and direction by Salles, with music and additional lyrics by Tor Hyams and Lisa St. Lou.
Ms. Gershon was joined by fellow cast members Lisa St. Lou (Ivanka Trump), Marissa Mulder (Marla Maples), Suzanne Sole (Ivana Trump), Peter Hargrave (Eric Trump) and Brian Sills (Donald Trump Jr.) who performed a ditty from the show, with lyrics like, “It’s great that all you Democrats can take it on the chin, chin, chin, to all you haters, debaters and queers, we’re here for six more years, so Hail to the Chief, …”
Then the “Trump family” fielded —in character — questions from the press.
As hands flew up, the Mooch pointed, “The Fox reporter in the back.”
“What do you plan to say in your speech when you win best musical at the Tonys,” the reporter asked Gershon, who replied in perfectly nuanced Melania tones:
“Well I can assure you it won’t be anything like that over-rated Robert De Niro speech at the Oscars when he said, “Fuck Trump,” because…well nobody really wants to do that.”
Asked what she had to say about Paul Manafort’s conviction for financial fraud, Melania/Gershon replied, “In Slovenia we have a saying, never trust a man who over-dyes his hair.”
After the 15-minute press conference, Scaramucci, who looks a decade younger than his 54 years, hung around to chat with journalists who peppered him with political questions.
Did he think the President did anything illegal?
“Yesterday was a very bad day for the President,” he conceded. “But at this point it’s not clear that he’s done anything illegal, meaning the President of the United States. But whether he did something illegal or didn’t do something illegal, you can’t indict a sitting President. You know that from the Constitution, so this will become a political story more than a story of criminality.”
How he felt about the convictions of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen: “When I saw the news yesterday, cause I’m a human being the same way you guys are human beings, my heart went out to Paul, it went out to Michael, their families and the children that are associated with these families. That’s where my heart went,” he said. “People do make mistakes in life and they make some mis-decisions… That was my original reaction and so listen at the end of the day though I think both had felt they’d been treated fairly,” he said. “I’m proud to call Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen friends of mine. Even though they did something wrong and they’ve admitted guilt to doing things that are wrong, I don’t think you cut and run from your friends. In the neighborhood where I grew up in you learn never to do that.”
Back to the President, I asked the Mooch what he thought were the chances he’d be impeached?
“It was not a good day for the President,” he conceded, “but the way the House and the Senate are configured I think the chances of him being impeached are quite remote. You have to get the entire vote done in the House and then you gotta get two-thirds of the Senate to get an impeachment so I don’t really think that’s the issue for the President. What’s at issue for the President is the political environment. If the political environment changes on him, that’s really what buried Richard Nixon. It wasn’t whatever the facts were. It was the political environment changed and that’s where the problem lies. But right now, today, what’s today’s date, the 21st or the 22? I don’t see him getting impeached.”
On another track, I asked him about Melania. What’s she really like?
“I have an enormous amount of respect for Melania. She’s a terrific mother. I think she’s been a great partner to the President and she’s always been unbelievably kind and gracious to me and my wife and my family members. Every interaction I’ve ever had with Melania, she’s a very warm, very caring, loving person.
I asked Scaramucci if he read Frank Bruni’s editorial, where he called her possibly the Greatest First Lady and that she was trolling the President.
“I didn’t read the piece,” he said. “But I think the stuff about trolling, if people are making suggestions she’s trolling the president, I’m not inside her mind. I don’t know if she’s trolling the President or not, but I do want the President to stop what he’s doing on Twitter. It’s hurting him.”
Why can’t he?
“I don’t know the answer to that,” Scaramucci told me. “I think in fairness to him he would say that Twitter was a device that he used to control the news cycle and to hop over the mainstream media that was decidedly negative on his candidacy and so I think he would say he used that as a device to create his own media outlet for his own ideas and his own views but what happens with the President, because he’s such a heavy counterpuncher, when people are hitting him I think he’s overusing Twitter in the counterpunching and I think it’s costing him. I think the average American says, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, you’re doing a great job, but stylistically if you changed tone a little bit you’d be more popular.”
Couldn’t you just say knock it off?
“Who could? You think you could? I’m on the record saying I couldn’t. But I’m also on the record saying I like him and I want him to do well.”