President Trump lashed out anew Monday at aide-turned-nemesis Anthony Scaramucci after the former White House communications director threatened to cobble together a coalition of former Cabinet officials to speak out against the president as part of an apparent bid to find an alternative Republican nominee in 2020.
Accelerating a remarkable conversion from short-lived White House insider to brash detractor, Scaramucci said in an interview Monday morning that he wants to find a "viable alternative" and is assembling a "team" of like-minded people toward that end.
“I’ve got to get some of these former Cabinet officials in unity to speak up about it. They know it’s a crisis,” he said, predicting such a coalition would go public by the fall.
Trump, presumably watching the CNN interview, called the “Mooch” an "unstable 'nut job,'" before mocking him over his notoriously brief stint at the White House.
“I barely knew him until his 11 days of gross incompetence-made a fool of himself, bad on TV. Abused staff,” he said, while taking some personal shots at Scaramucci’s marriage (he and wife Deidre Ball are back together, after calling off a divorce announced in 2017).
“He was a mental wreck. We didn’t want him around. Now Fake News puts him on like he was my buddy!” Trump tweeted.
The insults are in keeping with an ever-escalating feud between the two men, after Scaramucci publicly turned on the president in recent weeks – calling him a “jacka--” who may drop out of the 2020 race, predicting a “reset” in the GOP and reportedly chatting with “Never Trump” pundit Bill Kristol about trying to find a replacement on top of the ticket.
“You know that the situation is unstable. You know that the president is off his rocker,” he told CNN on Monday, while denying any personal interest in launching such a candidacy.
It’s unclear whether his apparent discussions with former Cabinet officials will materialize into a coalition – and whether such a coalition would make any difference in the GOP presidential primary process, where so far only former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld has announced a challenge.
But while Trump overwhelmingly dominates GOP primary polling and continues to enjoy support from Republican Party leadership and top officials, hypothetical polling in a general election shows Trump trailing.
The latest Fox News Poll showed him trailing all the top Democratic candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden by 12 points.
Scaramucci cited the polling and warnings about a recession in suggesting Monday that Trump could be vulnerable.
Trump on Sunday, though, brushed off the economic concerns, telling reporters: "I don't think we're having a recession. … We're doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut and they're loaded up with money."