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.
Until recently, a law firm wouldn’t think twice about working for a sitting U.S. president, members of his cabinet, or an executive branch agency. Such an engagement would be a feather in the cap of any firm—one to be bragged about, subtly or otherwise. But times change, and among the many norms that the 45th president has threatened to turn on its head is the reputational effect of being associated with the White House.