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When Anthony Scaramucci Called Me and Asked a Bizarre Question About Trump

Late yesterday afternoon, the New Yorker published an expletive-ridden and almost too-outrageous-to-be-true interview with Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director.

I say almost too outrageous to be true because I’ve spoken with Scaramucci on several occasions. And Ryan Lizza’s interview is 100% pure Mooch—from referring to himself in the third person (“The swamp will not defeat him”); to his passionate, unfiltered “I’m from Long Island” candor; to his fierce defense of someone he deems unfairly vilified, and castigation of the ones trying to bring him down; to the occasional made-up word, to his snarky impressions of others’ voices (impersonating Reince Priebus: “Let me leak the f-ing thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months”).

Scaramucci had cold-called Lizza to demand which unnamed “senior White House official” told the journalist about the SkyBridge Capital founder’s dinner with the President. This reminded me of a time the Mooch had called me to talk about another dinner, one he had with the hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen last year, celebrating an agreement with the SEC for Cohen to return to the money management industry after his firm’s insider trading scandal. This conversation ultimately became the lead to my recent magazine profile of Cohen and his hedge fund comeback.

But a few things never made it into the story, including how the conversation began. It was Oct. 11, and at the time, uproar over the just-leaked Billy Bush tapes (featuring Trump’s “grab them by the p-ssy” comments) was at a fever pitch. Scaramucci called me, and here’s the first thing he said when I picked up the phone: “Hey Jen, tell me something—you think those ‘Make America Horny Again’ hats are going to sell?”

I was so taken aback I didn’t immediately get the joke. (It’s unclear but unlikely the Mooch ever made or planned to sell these hats.) “I just thought it was funny,” Scaramucci explained, “After another day where my guy is falling apart.”

By “my guy,” of course, he meant Donald Trump. Back then, even Scaramucci wasn’t taking his candidate’s candidacy entirely seriously. At his holiday party a couple of months later, I asked him about this, and whether he’d always wanted to go into politics.

“You know, I never thought about it before,” he said. “I’ve always been an entrepreneur. But you never know what’s going to happen to you in life. Let me ask you: Did you think Trump was going to win?”

I interpreted that to mean that Scaramucci himself hadn’t entirely believed it was possible, even as he threw his support behind the campaign, becoming a regular at Trump Tower.

At the same party, I also learned about another time when Scaramucci’s big mouth on TV created a bit of an awkward situation for his colleagues. That is, for his partners in a restaurant venture outside of Times Square, the Hunt & Fish Club, which Scaramucci listed among his assets on his recent financial disclosure form, valuing it between about $100,000 and $250,000.

But the Hunt & Fish Club was not supposed to be the name of the steakhouse. The restaurant’s owners were boxed into it only because Scaramucci prematurely announced it on TV. Indeed, the Mooch had told CNBC he was opening a restaurant even before they’d signed the lease for the space. Sometimes, though, Scaramucci’s pronouncements in the media have a way of becoming their own self-fulfilling prophecies.