Trump's new hire Scaramucci makes
conciliatory debut with media
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[July 22, 2017]
By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If President Donald
Trump, who refers to the media as "fake news," wants his staff to use a
more conciliatory approach with journalists, new communications director
Anthony Scaramucci may be implementing such a shift - for now.
The Wall Street financier and Republican fundraiser walked into the
White House briefing room on Friday and immediately did what Sean
Spicer, the outgoing press secretary, did not do on his first day in
January: engage, in a friendly manner, with reporters.
Wearing a blue tie and an American flag pin on a dark suit, Scaramucci
bantered with correspondents, pledged to be transparent and even made
respectful remarks about CNN, the cable network with which Trump and
Spicer have sparred repeatedly.
He made fun of himself, joking about his short stature and apologizing
to Trump from the podium for having called the New York businessman a
hack politician in 2015.
"He brings it up every 15 seconds, all right?" Scaramucci said to
laughter, referring to the president. "I should have never said that
about him. So, Mr. President, if you're listening, I personally
apologize for the 50th time for saying that."
Trump was probably listening.
Reporters peppered Scaramucci with questions on press-related issues
that have dogged the relationship between the Trump presidency and the
journalists that cover it.
Did he support having briefings televised? "I obviously am committed to
being transparent because Iím standing here. But Iíd like to talk that
over with the president," he said.
He noted that CNN had apologized when it reported something false about
him and that he had accepted the apology.
[to top of second column]
New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci addresses
the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 21,
2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
"There feels like thereís a little bit of media bias, and so what we
hope we can do is de-escalate that and turn that around. And letís
let the message from the president get out there to the American
people," he said.
He announced the new press secretary to take over from Spicer, who
resigned earlier on Friday, would be Sarah Sanders.
Spicer's debut at the White House podium in January featured a long
scolding of reporters for their portrayal of Trump's Inauguration
Day crowd numbers.
Asked on Friday whether he agreed with Trump's contention, for which
there is no evidence, that 3 million people voted illegally in the
2016 election, Scaramucci answered carefully.
"So if the president says it, let me do more research on it, but my
guess is that thereís probably some level of truth to that," he
"I think what we have found sometimes the president says stuff, some
of you guys in the media think itís not true or it isnít true, and
it turns out itís closer to the truth than people think."
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Michael Perry)
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