Like the world’s worst poker player, Donald Trump has a tell. For all his erraticism and bizarre behavior, he can be rather consistently predictable when it comes to giving away which things he truly fears. Sure enough, he’s gone and done it again.
Sometimes Donald Trump attacks people for strategic reasons, such as firing up his racist base, trying to intimidate the media into giving him more favorable coverage, or projecting one of his own scandals onto one of his political opponents. But when Trump begins attacking someone in a manner that doesn’t benefit him at all – particularly when he begins attacking that person repeatedly and obsessively – it’s a giveaway that Trump is rattled by how much he fears what that person can do to him.
This brings us to Donald Trump’s ongoing, escalating, and utterly absurd public feud with his own former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. The first and even second time Trump went after Scaramucci this past week, it could have been chalked up to Trump trying to send a message to his other former advisers, or Trump simply blowing off steam.
But by the time Trump attacked Scaramucci late last night, calling him a “dope” and posting a cheesy video making fun of the Mooch that he’d had his staffers stitch together, it was either the fifth or sixth time that Trump has attacked the guy in the past week. To be clear, Trump doesn’t benefit at all by continuing to attack Scaramucci. His base doesn’t care, and everyone else just thinks it makes Trump look like a whack job.
So why keep doing it in such obsessive fashion? Donald Trump must fear Anthony Scaramucci. That’s kind of surreal, considering that whatever talents the Mooch may have in life, politics didn’t turn out to be one of them. For that matter, he wasn’t in the White House long enough to know much if anything about Trump’s criminal scandals.
The only thing that registers? Anthony Scaramucci’s threat to find a viable Republican candidate to primary Donald Trump in 2020, along with Scaramucci’s threat to have Trump’s former cabinet members publicly come out against him. Most of us aren’t taking Scaramucci’s threats seriously – but it sure feels like Trump is. Maybe the Mooch is onto something after all.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report