Three months ago, the roiling tumult in the White House occasionally made the six-o’clock news here in Ireland. I relished the respite from the reality-show sequelae that dominates news broadcasts in the US. That, however, changed gradually over the summer. Now it is difficult to turn on the telly without finding the latest serio-comic “fake news” about or from the White House leading off the reports on RTE, the BBC (1, 2 and 4 mind you), France 24, Euronews, and even Al Jazeera.
The sudden rise and fall of Anthony Scaramucci quickly replaced the news of Sean Spicer’s “resignation” and Reince Priebus’ dismissal as the loyal Trumpman dutifully fell on his metaphorical sword. Scaramucci wasted no time living up to his family namesake. As widely noted, Scaramuccia (“little skirmisher”) was a clown figure of the Commedia dell’arte, known in French as Scaramouche, a Punch-and-Judy figure who was more Punched than Puncher, often pummeled by Harlequin for his “boasting and cowardice” (Wikipedia). Scaramouche was also a splendid 1921 novel by Rafael Sabatini set just before and during the French Revolution. As the basis for several films, the 1952 version was a boyhood favorite of mine and endeared the figure to me ever after. (The novel is terrific. Read it on the beach this summer while you still have time.)
In any case, Scaramucci enjoyed (if I may use the term) the shortest tenure yet of Trump appointees, dismissed because of his “inappropriate language” in denouncing other Trump appointees, notably Reince Priebus. Given Trump’s own penchant for the “colorful language” that earned him a rebuke from the Boy Scouts of America (among others), it has to be conceded that Scaramucci’s tirade went beyond even that pale.
All of this carnival of errors (I hate to say comedy: it isn’t that funny), has been dutifully reported by media throughout Europe with an admixture of amusement, horror, and revulsion. But, we are assured, the White House is not in turmoil. Chaos perhaps. Possibly disarray. But not turmoil. (Don’t look now.)