The media might see Trump's early weeks as president as wholly unimpressive, but his supporters see things much differently, Anthony Scaramucci, who holds the title of informal advisor to President Trump, said on Monday during a public interview held in New York.
"The report card is better than what the media says it is," Scaramucci said in an interview with the media writer Michael Wolff at TheStreet's "Wall Street Goes to Washington" event being live streamed from the Metropolitan Club in midtown Manhattan.
"The media is giving a 'D' or an 'F' whereas his supporters are viewing this as a process. He's a great entrepreneur, a great pivoter, and my guess is he's going to surprise people -- so, I'm going to give him an incomplete."
Scaramucci, who founded the hedge fund SkyBridge Capital, is in the process of selling his stake in the firm to other hedge funds, including the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, to avoid being vulnerable to conflicts of interest.
He has yet to take on the post of director for the Office of Public Liaison in the White House, explaining at previous public appearances that once the HNA deal closes, he's confident he will officially get the job. Scaramucci's effort to assume the position was thwarted soon after The New York Times ran a front-page article on Feb. 1 about HNA's ties to the Chinese government.
Since then, Scaramucci has worked on behalf of Trump, though without an official title. "I take Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus at their word, that there will be a job for me when the deal closes," he said adding that there have been discussions within the administration about a few other possible positions for him. "I'm not sure what my role will be."
In the coming months, even as Congress turns to questions of tax reform, Scaramucci said Trump will seek to return to health care, possibly building a coalition with moderate Democrats if he is unable to win support from the right-wing Freedom Caucus.
"The conservative faction probably pushed a little too hard," he said. "My guess is that there's probably some buyer's remorse."
Over time, he said, Obamacare is bound to have problems, which will prompt the administration to return to the subject.
"There is going to be a seismic problem for Obamacare sometime in 2018. I think we can get this right; there is a temporary pause on the issue."
Turning to Washington politics, Scaramucci decried the tenor of debate, which he said too often turns personal rather than being focused on policy.
"What happens in Washington is that you can be right on policy, but then they try to disfigure you and demonize you, and discredit you," he said.
He was asked to comment on the perception that Trump's campaign and the appointment of some members of his cabinet indicated support for so-called white nationalists. Scaramucci countered that Trump's definition of nationalism isn't the same as that of European or U.S. historians.
Trump, he said, doesn't view nationalism as meaning one country is better than another, thus fanning rhetoric that can lead to greater militarization or spark armed conflict.
"Some of that is a product of the bellicosity of the campaign," Scaramucci said. "Some of that is media characterization."
Trump, he argued, views nationalism as the U.S. government's responsibility to address the needs of people who have been left behind by economic shifts. Accusations that Trump somehow supports a racist notion of nationalism are completely wrong, he said.
"When he hears the word nationalism, his feeling is that for many, many years, we didn't put America first," he said. "And the desultory product of that is that we crippled the lower middle-class and the middle-class, and we have to come up with policies to help them."
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