Email #233: “Past views evolved”?

Anthony Scaramucci wrote in January 2016:

“If a populist prevails in the primary, as appears increasingly likely, the party faces either devastating defeat in the general election or a new, unrecognizable identity. In either scenario, a large swath of the GOP electorate will be forced to eat crow and reevaluate its affiliation. Call it, if you will, a moral debt restructuring, one caused by the reckless behavior of a man who knows a thing or two about bankruptcy.”

The reckless, bankruptcy-knowledgeable “populist” was Donald Trump, and he appointed Scaramucci his new Communications Director last week, prompting Press Secretary Spicer to resign. When asked about this statement, Scaramucci responded:

“Whatever you’re trying to suggest by bringing this story up, I actually do not care…. If I said some things about him when I was working from another candidate, Mr. Trump, Mr. President, I apologize for that. Can we move on off of that?”

Scaramucci supported both Scott Walker and then Jeb Bush in 2016. He also called Donald Trump, “anti-American,” a “hack politician,” “very hurtful for the [Republican] party,” president of “the Queens County Bullies Association,” the equivalent of John Belushi in Animal House, and someone who “preys on people that have low information.”

But Scaramucci now insists: “I should have never said that about him.” He has also deleted his former tweets about the President because: “Past views evolved & shouldn’t be a distraction. I serve @POTUS agenda & that’s all that matters.”

I believe in January 2016 you too were hoping that the Donald Trump was not going to win the Republican nomination. But when he did, as Scaramucci predicted, you were forced to reevaluate your affiliation and restructure your morality accordingly. Because you never went on record against him, you were never forced to eat crow publicly. Your views evolved privately and so your moral restructuring has been private too.

I’m sure you, like Scaramucci, would like to move on off of that topic too, but it is the single most pressing issue of our political times and your political career. Scaramucci says he serves the President’s “agenda,” though doing so apparently requires serving the President himself. You probably would like to believe serving that agenda is all that matters too. But that is precisely why Scarmucci was right when he said Donald Trump is very hurtful for the GOP. His presidency has evolved principled conservatives into hypocrites and sycophants. This is your new, unrecognizable identity.

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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