It’s difficult to pinpoint just one thing Anthony Scaramucci did to seal his fate in his short stint as the White House communications director. After all, there’s so much to choose from. So many titillating quotes, so many headlines and so many new phrases coined in his brief tenure (“White House Chaos” being one of the more mundane). “The Mooch” became the news story for 10 days — and that, above all else, is the primary reason for his downfall. His biggest mistake was in violating the No. 1 rule for all spokespeople: Don’t become the story.
A spokesperson’s job is to stay on message, no matter what questions are thrown your way and no matter how tempting it may be to toss back a colorful retort. The best spokesperson is confident and unflappable. They are wired to speak in soundbites as if it were a reflex, and they exercise tremendous restraint. They refuse to be fazed, for example, by hostile or even ridiculous questions. They never allow an interviewer to lead them off track and instead bridge back to their key messages. The best spokesperson never shows when their blood pressure rises. They keep their cool, knowing that a strong reaction on their part can become a story in and of itself, placing them in violation of the spokesperson’s cardinal rule.
Clearly, The Mooch was not the best spokesperson. It’s hard to say why he was chosen in the first place. But one thing is certain: In his short tenure, he made a lot of other spokespeople look really good.