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CNN NEWSROOM

White House Briefing with Anthony Scaramucci. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired July 21, 2017 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, NEW WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: -- wanted to talk about personnel movement and how we're thinking about things.

[14:30:00]

But I -- I think we're -- I think we're doing an amazing job.

The president himself is always going to be the president. I was in the Oval Office with him earlier today, and we were talking about letting him be himself, letting him express his full identity.

I think he's got some of the best political instincts in the world, and perhaps in history. If you think about it, he started his political ascent two and two -- two years and two months ago, and he's -- he's done a phenomenal job for the American people.

And the people I grew up with -- they so identify with the president, and they love him. And so we're going to get that message out.

So...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: And my second question for you, too, if you can...

SCARAMUCCI: I'm going to get to -- I'm going to get to everybody. Don't worry.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... if you can speak a little bit about how you plan to -- obviously you're a business guy, you're a Wall Street guy -- how you plan to handle any potential conflicts of interest, and walk us through how this offer was made to you, what the president said when you were here, what the conversation's been like.

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I -- I don't think it's fair to the president for me to go into the exact conversation, because I want to keep those conversations between me and him private.

But we talked a little bit about the White House. We talked a little bit about our personal relationship. And then, when he extended the offer to me, I said I would do it, because I want to serve the president.

You know, one of the things -- I have a lot of family members that served in the American military. Unfortunately, my generation -- I'm born in 1964 -- I did not serve. I filled out the selective service. It's one of the regrets for my life. So this is an opportunity for me to serve the country.

I love the president. I obviously love the country. Look at my life experience here in the country. And so it's an honor to be here. It's an honor to stand here, actually.

QUESTION: And conflicts?

SCARAMUCCI: In terms of my personal business conflicts?

QUESTION: Correct, yeah.

SCARAMUCCI: Yeah, so I have worked with the Office of Governmental (sic) Ethics to take care of all of my business conflicts. My start date is going to be in a couple of weeks, so that it's a -- 100 percent totally cleansed and clean.

And I don't -- I don't see an issue with it. The Office of Government Ethics doesn't see an issue with it, nor does the White House counsel.

So -- but, you know, here's one thing I want to say about this, though. When you're bringing American businesspeople into the administration, and they've had some level of success in the -- in this society, they have to unencumber themselves.

You know, it's -- it's just a very interesting thing, and it's somewhat ironic. You want to go serve the country, and so the first thing you have to do is take on this mega opportunity cost by getting rid of all your assets, and so -- but I'm willing to do that, because I love the country.

John -- I'm going to get to everybody.

QUESTION: Anthony, you've been watching this White House from...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: Yeah. Yeah.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... somewhat outside, and I'm sure you have your own perspective on what you've seen.

SCARAMUCCI: Not quite as candid as you, though. Not that outside.

QUESTION: What is the first thing you're going to change to try to right this ship and put it on a course?

SCARAMUCCI: Again, I take issue with that.

I think the -- the ship is going to go -- the ship is going in the right direction. I think we've got to just radio signal the direction very, very clearly. I like the team. Let me -- let me rephrase that. I love the team.

And so, I'm an incrementalist. Most entrepreneurs you will find are incrementalists. To say something overly bold or overly dramatic is unfair.

What good entrepreneurs do is they start the day and they -- and they go through the process. The Navy SEALs will tell you that if you want to eat an elephant, you got to eat it one bite at a time, and Sarah and I are going to do that together.

I'm going to get to everybody. Guy right there (ph).

QUESTION: Anthony, did you have any hesitation taking this job, knowing it might cause some friction, and that it might lead to Sean leaving, which is what's going to happen? And the two are at least somewhat coincidental.

And did you have any hesitation about how you would relate to the rest of the White House staff if you came in under those circumstances?

SCARAMUCCI: OK, well -- well, listen. You know, remember, I'm a businessperson, and so, what happens in business a lot of the times is you have some rotation in personnel as you're -- as you're making changes, and you have lifestyle choices that people are also making.

I would love to have Sean here. Sean decided that he thought it would be better to go. And for me, as it relates to Sean, it speaks volumes to who he is as a human being, who he is as a team player. OK, so his attitude is, "If Anthony's coming in, let me clear the slate for Anthony," and I do appreciate that about Sean and I love him for it.

But I don't have any friction with Sean. I don't have any friction with Reince.

This is the White House of the United States of America. We're serving the president. And I want to make sure that our cultural template is that we put the president's agenda first, which is perfect for the American people, and we serve his interests.

And so, if we have a little bit of friction inside the White House as a result of that, it's OK. We can all live with that. I'm a businessperson. I'm used to dealing with friction.

QUESTION: You were a significant player during the transition. Was it disappointing that you did not land a post here from the get- go?

SCARAMUCCI: Again, I would say, as an entrepreneur, you have to be accustomed to setbacks. I've had a series of setbacks in my life, which I've written about. I wrote a best-selling book, and if you don't believe me, you can come into my basement, I'll show you every copy.

(LAUGHTER) In order to get it to be a best-selling book.

And so I'm -- I'm very honest about mistakes that I've made and setbacks that I've had.

And so, was I disappointed? Yes, I said that candidly that I was disappointed.

But I love the president and I'm very, very loyal to the president. And I love the mission that the president has.

SCARAMUCCI: OK, since the early days of the campaign, when I went to these rallies and I saw the love that the people had for the president, and a lot of -- and I grew up in the middle class, and so there's a struggle out there. The president saw that before I did. I wish I could tell you I saw it before him, but he -- he taught it to me.

And I feel that struggle and I have empathy for that struggle and I want to be here to help make things better for the American people. So I'll -- I'll take the hit.

Yes, sir.

QUESTION: Anthony...

SCARAMUCCI: I'm going to try to get to everybody. I promise you. I'll try to get to everybody.

QUESTION: Sean told the A.P. and others that the president needed a clean slate. How does that comport with a White House that's headed in the right direction?

And secondly, how badly does the president need a win on health care in order (inaudible)?

SCARAMUCCI: (inaudible) one -- one problem with the way our society's working: Right now we are micromanaging the seconds of the news cycle.

I predict that the president will get a win in health care. That's my honest prediction, just because I've seen him in operation over the last 20-plus years.

The president has really good karma, OK? And the world turns back to him. He's genuinely a wonderful human being and I think as members of Congress get to know him better and get comfortable with him, they're going to let him lead them to the right things for the American people.

So I think we're going to get the health care done. I also think we're going to get tax reform done. And whatever else is on the president's agenda, we're going to work very, very hard, very studiously here to make it happen.

John?

QUESTION: So, the cameras are back. Will you commit now to holding regular on-camera briefings, sir?

SCARAMUCCI: If she supplies hair and makeup, I will consider it.

(LAUGHTER)

But I need -- I need a lot of hair and makeup, John. I don't know, maybe.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

SCARAMUCCI: Not at all.

This is the press secretary. I'm up here today only because I think it's the first day, we made a mutual decision that it would make sense for me to come up here and try to answer as many questions as possible.

But we -- and the answer is we may. I have to talk to the president about that. I like consulting with the president before I make -- make decisions like that.

Go ahead, John. Keep going.

QUESTION: I know you've been one of the president's strongest supporters for -- for a while now. But does he know what you said about him back in 2015 when you said he was a hack politician?

SCARAMUCCI: He brings it up -- he brings it up every 15 seconds, OK.

(LAUGHTER)

One of the biggest mistakes that I made because I was an inexperienced person in the world of politics. I was supporting another candidate. I should have never said that about him.

So, Mr. President, if you're listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that.

But here's the wonderful thing about the news media: That was three minutes of my life, he's never forgotten it and you've never forgotten it.

But I hope that someday, Mr. President, you'll forget it.

I mean, let's go to the next question.

QUESTION: Can I ask you one last...

SCARAMUCCI: Go ahead, John.

QUESTION: There's been a question about credibility, some things that have been said in this room. Let me ask you a variation of what I asked Sean Spicer on his first day.

Is it your commitment to, to the best of your ability, give accurate information, the truth, from that podium?

SCARAMUCCI: I sort of feel like I don't even have to answer that question. I hope you can feel that from me just from my body language, that's the kind of person I am. I'm going to do the best I can.

I'm going to get to everybody. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Anthony, you mentioned your relationship with Reince. Was he involved in offering you this position? Was he consulted by the president ahead of time?

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. He was consulted. He was involved in the -- in the thing. There's a lot of speculation in the press about the timing and -- and so on and so forth. And so what I'm here to tell you is that we're a team.

Now, if you...

QUESTION: Can you walk us through how the job was offered?

SCARAMUCCI: Like I said, I think some of this stuff, it's unnecessary to go into that granular detail because then, you know, it's almost like the book "The Circle," where you have -- you're wearing, like, a police camera on you when you're having conversations. I don't think that's fair to the president.

But here's what I would tell you, OK? I'm a team player. I've, you know, played team sports my whole life, at least as a kid. And I believe that you have to subordinate yourself to the greater good of the team.

And if teammates don't have disagreements about certain things, then they're not going to get to the championship. You've got to get together and, you know, mix it up a little bit from time to time. I have no problem mixing it up with these -- these guys. I love these guys. I respect these guys.

Is it perfect every single day? Tell me whose life is perfect every single day.

But here's the commitment that I'm making to you and to the American people and to the president; that I'm here to serve him and I'm here to serve the people inside the West Wing.

(inaudible)?

QUESTION: Let me just follow up on John's question. Are you committed, then, to regular televised briefings and having a transparent relationship with the press?

SCARAMUCCI: OK, again, I obviously am committed to being transparent because I'm standing here. But I'd like to talk it over with the -- the president. And we have a new press secretary. I'd like to talk it over with her. And then we'll get back to you on that. But I -- you know, listen. I'm standing right here. I'm going to try to answer every question.

Sarah (ph), go ahead. QUESTION: Two quick questions.

The first one, obviously you know the president has been feeling under siege with the Russia investigation, both at the Department of Justice, but also on the Hill. Do you feel like he was feeling exposed, he didn't have people adequately coming to his defense? Is that part of the reason that we have you here to make (inaudible)?

SCARAMUCCI: No, I don't -- I don't think so.

So one of the things that I'm doing today is I, sort of, didn't have my White House counsel briefing before I'm having the press briefing, so I want to limit my remarks related to the Russia situation and things like that.

But here's what I tell you about the president: He's the most competitive person I've ever met. OK -- I've seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. I've seen him at Madison Square Garden with a topcoat on, he's standing in the key, and he's hitting foul shots and he's swishing them, OK? He sinks three-foot putts.

I don't see this guy as a guy that's ever under siege. This is a very, very competitive person. Obviously there's a lot of incoming that comes into the White House. But the president's a winner, OK? And what we're going to do is we're going to do a lot of winning.

QUESTION: One other question, in terms of the relationship that this press operation has had with news outlets. They've made a habit of calling news outlets they don't like fake news, calling stories they don't like fake news, calling errors that were then corrected -- you know, using that as an example to call entire news outlets fake news.

Is that the kind of relationship you want with media outlets? What kind -- how do you envision the relationship?

SCARAMUCCI: So -- again -- I want to speak for myself right now, because I don't -- it's my first day on the job. I've got to get familiar with everybody, get direction from the president.

But I had a personal incident with your news organization, and I thought I handled it well. I -- you know, you guys said something about me that was totally unfair and untrue. You retracted it and issued me an apology, and I accepted the apology immediately.

And so, for me, I've never been a journalist, but I have played a journalist on television. You know, I used to host "Wall Street Week" for Fox Business, and so I have empathy for -- for journalists in terms of sometimes they're going to get stories wrong.

But I, sort of, don't like the fake news. And if you said to me that there's some media bias out there, you want me to be as candid as I would like to be with you guys, there feels like there's a little bit of media bias. And so, what we hope we can do is deescalate that and turn that around, and let's let the -- the message from the president get out there to the American people.

QUESTION: Anthony...

SCARAMUCCI: Let's -- really going to try to get those -- how are you doing, Maddie (ph)?

QUESTION: Welcome.

The president is known to see himself as his own best spokesperson, his own best messenger. That was clearly a challenge that Sean had at this podium. How do you plan on navigating that differently than him or (inaudible) or anybody else?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, here's what I would say, OK -- again -- I thought Sean did a very good job. He's a very articulate person. He's had 30 years in communications. I would imagine that there are people here that are going to be super excited when he lands in a job that he (inaudible). He'll be a very effective communicator for wherever he goes.

As it relates to standing at the podium, I think everybody has their own individual personality. I do believe that that the best messenger or the best media person, the most savvy person in the White House is the president of the United States. And I'm, frankly, hoping to learn from him, as well as learn from Sarah and other people here.

QUESTION: How would you characterize your relationship with the president? How long has it lasted? (inaudible)? How...

SCARAMUCCI: So, he's probably not going to remember this, but the first time I met the president -- and again, he was a name brand even back in the day. I was 31. Michael Facetelli is a close personal friend of mine, we were at Goldman Sachs together. He introduced me to the president.

I had met him a few more times. From that Randy Levine, the president of the Yankees, introduced me to him a few times.

And then I would say that we got closer during the Romney campaign, where we did a couple of fund-raisers in his magnificent apartment.

And so, I think we're pretty -- you know, listen, I don't think I would be standing here if I didn't have a good relationship with the president. I love the president. And I think a lot of you guys know in the media I've been very, very loyal to him, and I'm going to do the best I can with my heart and soul on this job and try to serve him the best way that I can.

QUESTION: Just one last question.

Do you plan on changes in the comm shop beyond this? Are there going to be other changes? SCARAMUCCI: No. I mean, there was some speculation -- the things I can talk about specifically is Dan Scavino and Hope Hicks are staying.

So I know there was some speculation about that. I just spoke to both of them. I love the two of them. I go back a long ways with them. I think they're two phenomenal people. As it relates to the other people in the comm shop, I've got to get to know them. Sean was incredibly gracious a few hours ago where we sat in his office and he spoke to them on my behalf. Reince was incredibly gracious. I spoke to them as well.

I got to get to know the people. They got to get to know me. Hopefully they'll like me and they'll want to stay and we'll see what happens. We're going to make it fun -- a very fun place to work.

We'll try to get to everybody. Yes?

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Are you going to more discussing (ph) about the national security issues at this podium?

SCARAMUCCI: OK, that's a really good question, but I think it's inappropriate for me to answer that question right now. And so I have to get -- unfortunately I have to get back to you on that, because I've got to get some direction from General McMaster and the president.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: I'm going to go this way. Blake, I'm going to get to you, I promise. I'm going to do everything I can to get to every person in this room.

Yes?

QUESTION: Would you encourage President Trump to have a press conference with us in the near future?

SCARAMUCCI: I'm going to -- I'll talk to him, absolutely. I mean -- I mean, listen -- I mean, the president's phenomenal with the press, OK, and he's -- he's a great communicator.

He won this election. I used to know the math a lot better when I was in the campaign and during the transition, but I think we spent, like, I don't know, 60 percent of the money, and we had one-third the personnel. We won the presidency because of Donald J. Trump. OK, he is a unbelievable politician.

And so, he's -- of course he's going to -- at some point, we'll make sure that that happens. I don't know what point that's going to be, because I have to talk to him.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: Please, I'm going to get to -- I'm going to do my very best to get to everybody. Let me just go in a way -- there's some order. I'm going to go here first.

QUESTION: Anthony...

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. QUESTION: ... you seem like a very savvy person, and you said that the White House is a difficult place. How are you going to handle a couple of things?

SCARAMUCCI: When did I say that? I mean, I probably said it...

QUESTION: At the (ph) beginning. So...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: Real quick, no, I said -- let me explain that, OK? Let me be specific.

It's a difficult place because here's what happens, OK? It's a little cramped in there. You've got a lot of reporters from international news agencies. And it's a difficult place, because you're trying to get a job done but you're sitting inside of a fish bowl. And so that's what I mean by "It's a difficult place."

I don't mean it's a difficult place to work, in terms of the people. I think what you'd find is that there's a lot less palace intrigue than is getting reported about. And so -- but that does create some tension and anxiety, and I'm going to work alongside of my -- my peers here to reduce that tension and anxiety, because we all genuinely like each other.

QUESTION: But how are you going to handle...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... my question, how are you going...

SCARAMUCCI: I'll get to you, I promise.

QUESTION: ... how are you going to handle when a crisis or a big thing comes up, and you put a very sophisticated message out at night, and the president, in the morning, tweets something very different?

SCARAMUCCI: OK.

QUESTION: And are you willing to say you've made a mistake?

So, two questions there.

SCARAMUCCI: Well, listen, I took trial advocacy at Harvard Law School. Little name dropping there, if you don't mind, OK? And so I'm not going to answer that, because that's a hypothetical, and the first thing they teach you in trial advocacy is not to answer a hypothetical.

But here's what I will tell you, OK? I love the president. And the president is a very, very effective communicator. And he'll use social media. And I think he's got -- I'm going to -- if I get this wrong, I know I'm going to hear it from him, so hopefully I don't get it wrong. It's either 113 million or 114 million. I know he's picking up about 300,000 followers a day, God bless him. And so, to -- to me, I think it's been very effective use of -- reaching the American public directly. And so, listen, we -- I -- I welcome him continuing to do that.

I think it's very, very important for him to express his identity, because what I have found when I travel around the country -- people love him.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: I'm going to try to get to everybody.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: What do you come back and say when his message is different than what you put out the night before?

SCARAMUCCI: OK. So -- so, again, that's a hypothetical, so it's totally unfair of me to even answer that, because how can I answer that? I don't know what the tweet is. I don't know what happened. That's just unfair. And so -- you -- you learn that early in law school, not to answer that question.

Go ahead, I'm sorry.

QUESTION: Has the president expressed any frustration to you at all that a lot of these briefings have been off-camera? And since he wants to get his message out, wouldn't he believe that to put them on- camera would be beneficial?

SCARAMUCCI: He hasn't expressed that to me, so I don't know his opinion on that, so I can't answer that question honestly.

QUESTION: How involved in the day-to-day operations of the press department will he be going forward?

SCARAMUCCI: As -- as much or as little as he wants to be.

I mean, he's the president of the United States. I'm here to serve him.

I'm certainly going to do my very best to communicate to him what I think is the most effective strategy for him to get his message out to the American people and to the global community. But it will be as much as or as little as he wants to be.

You know, he -- he did, you know, give me the orders today that I'm in charge, and I report directly to him. And I'm going to do my very best to serve him. So as much or as little as he wants.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Just to follow on that, your relationship with the chief of staff: Is he your boss or do you report directly to the president?

SCARAMUCCI: OK, so, I'm going to let Reince answer that. I have no problem working for Reince. I can only speak about my management style, OK? I have been on Wall Street for 29 years. Nobody has ever worked for me. People work with me. I believe in a lot of collaboration. I think, if you do that, it's very, very empowering for people.

I have no problem working for Reince. The president said I report to him directly.

But, listen, you guys are going to be very, very surprised about the relationship that I have with Reince and the closeness that we're going to have in terms of working to serve the president. And so, he's the chief of staff, and so it would be foolish of me not to communicate with him, not to relay to him every single thing that I'm doing.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: Yes. QUESTION: Anthony, do you stand by some of the factual claims that have been contested that have been made by this administration? Three million illegal votes cast for the president's opponent -- do you now -- do you endorse all of those statements of fact that have been made?

SCARAMUCCI: So -- so it's a little bit of an unfair question, because I'm not up to speed on all of that. So again, I'm just candidly telling you that.

QUESTION: The president said 3 million people voted illegally.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: OK. So...

QUESTION: Do you stand by that or not?

SCARAMUCCI: If the -- if the president says it, OK, let me do more research on it. My guess is that there's probably some level of truth to that.

I think what we have found, sometimes -- the president says stuff, some of you guys in the media think it's not true or it isn't true, it turns out it's closer to the truth than people think.

But let me do more homework on that and I'll get back to you.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: I'm feel -- I'm feeling the hook here. I can feel the hook. Because (ph) I want to answer -- is it OK to answer a few more questions? Couple more.

QUESTION: Anthony...

QUESTION: Hello, Anthony?

SCARAMUCCI: Let me get to Blake first. OK, let me get to Blake first, and I'll go to the other people, OK?

QUESTION: Thank you. Congrats on the -- on the new job.

Question for you.

SCARAMUCCI: Are you really congratulating me on the job?

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: It's a -- it's a -- it's a new job. Congrats.

SCARAMUCCI: Thank you.

QUESTION: You -- you've gone through your past of law school, business, finance, but you've never held a communications-type role. What would you say to your critics who say, "He's never done anything like this, and this is the White House"?

Secondly, if you can just lay out, kind of, why you wanted the job.

And thirdly, before you go, why you chose immediately, right off the bat, Sarah, to be the -- the press secretary.

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I'm going to start -- I'm going to start with Sarah first, OK?

So, the -- the -- the president loves Sarah. He -- he thinks that she's doing a phenomenal job. I agree with him. I think Reince Priebus and other members of his staff agree. And I'm super proud to work with her. And I think she's going to be phenomenal as the press secretary.

As it relates to me, I think that you will find in my background and my career, I have a lot of communications experience. And I spent a lot of time on television. I've spent a lot of time shaping the message for my old firm -- my predecessor firm. And so, time will tell.

But here's something I will tell you about myself. There's a lot of stuff that I don't know, and so I'm going to lean on people like Sarah and other people to help me be the best that I can possibly be.

I'm going to take one last question. I'm going to take this question right here. Right, I'm getting the hook.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: Right. So, I'm going to take these (ph) last questions. Yeah?

QUESTION: Can I follow up on what Blake was asking you? Two questions.

Because of your legal background and the fact that you mentioned the White House counsel, can you explain to us what role, as someone who's been trained in the law, you plan to play in communications, interacting with the president's legal team dealing with the Russia...

SCARAMUCCI: That's a good question.

QUESTION: ... investigation?

SCARAMUCCI: Yeah.

QUESTION: And then secondly, if -- can I add on, most analysts who have ever looked at White House communications, perhaps in academia or historians, have said that when a president says that he has communications problems, what he has is usually policy and political problems.

You're arguing that we're not understanding in the United States how much the president should be appreciated and how much you love him. But can you describe to us how much you think that it goes beyond that concept and that the president has political and policy problems?

SCARAMUCCI: OK, so -- OK, so, let's start with the first question. Just repeat -- the first question was what again, exactly?

QUESTION: So, legal -- you're going to interact with the president's... SCARAMUCCI: Yeah.

QUESTION: ... legal team...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: OK, yeah, that's -- that's a good question.

And so, I'm close personal friends with Jay Sekulow. I have a relationship with John Dowd. And I'm going to with Don McGahn and other people just to make sure that we're on message, and we're handling ourselves in the most appropriate way possible.

That's the best I can say about that.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: I have not met -- I have not met Todd (ph). I don't know Todd (ph).

QUESTION: And so, then, the follow-on was...

SCARAMUCCI: And then your second question, yeah.

QUESTION: ... communications problems versus...

SCARAMUCCI: Yeah.

QUESTION: ... policy and political problems...

SCARAMUCCI: Yeah.

QUESTION: ... and the way you see that in the context of this presidency. SCARAMUCCI: Well, long ago, you know, Teddy Roosevelt said that the presidency is a bully pulpit, and that the president has a great gift in that he's able to control the news cycle and able to control the messaging.

And so, I think if we get super-coordinated around here with the president, and we go back to what he did, some of the great successes that he had in the campaign and the transition and even in the presidency, frankly, is delivering that message directly to the American people.

And so, to me, I think the policies are -- are fantastic. I think he's done a phenomenal job.

I think Sarah read something that I totally believe, is that he's doing a phenomenal job and we just need to get it out there a little bit more aggressively, and we're going to try to do that.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: I got to go, right (ph)? Should I take another one (inaudible)? I'll take one -- I'll take one more. Right there.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

You talked several times about your relationship with Reince Priebus and Hope Hicks and some of the (inaudible) the communication staff. Can you talk about your relationship with Steve Bannon? He's said to have had strong objections about you taking this job, as well.

And then I have one other, please.

SCARAMUCCI: All right, so I'm on the record. You know, I've been interviewed about Steven. He's one of the smartest people that I know. I think that he was instrumental in -- in helping us win the election. He's got a strong personality. I have a strong personality.

We didn't really overlap at Goldman Sachs, but we both worked there at a period of time. And there was something great about that culture back in yesteryear. Maybe it's true today, although I -- I've been out of Goldman for 21, 22 years.

But there were two great things about that culture. The first thing was that you subordinated yourself to the team, even if you had disagreements. And the second thing was that the legendary John Weinberg, who's now deceased, once said, "Some people grow, other people swell." OK, and it's a great line to think about yourself.

And so, for me, I want to keep my head in the game, I want to keep my ego low, and I want to work with Steve Bannon as closely as I possibly can. I have a huge, enormous amount of respect for him.

QUESTION: Sir, and then...

(CROSSTALK) QUESTION: ... and then the other part of my -- the other thing was...

SCARAMUCCI: Sarah says I can keep going.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... said that the ship -- you said that you don't need to right the ship, that you guys are doing great work. But the president has a 38.8 percent approval rating in his second quarter. That's historically low.

What are you going to do to change that, to better communicate with the American people?

SCARAMUCCI: OK, that's a -- OK, so that -- that's actually a really good question.

And so, these polls are moving targets, and we all know from statistics, which -- I've taken plenty of statistics courses -- that sometimes the polls can be wrong. We do know that.

QUESTION: That's an average. That's Gallup's average.

SCARAMUCCI: All right. So we're going to -- we're going to use Gallup's average. But we were using averages during the campaign, and people said we were going to lose, and we ended up winning.

And so what I would say about polls is that they're a barometric pressure reading for right now, today. But the American people are actually playing a long game, and I think they really, really love the president. And when you look into the individual state-by-state polls, you can see the guy's doing phenomenally well.

And so it's indicating to me -- at least me personally -- that the president is really well loved. There seems to be a disconnection in terms of some of the things that are going on, and we want to connect that, Sarah and I, best of our capability, and -- so that people feel great about what he's doing.

I feel great about what he's doing, and I want -- well, maybe you're not going to feel great. I don't know you. But I want the American people in general to feel great about what he's doing.

I'll take -- take the question.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: ... she says I can keep going, I'll keep going. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you, Anthony.

There have been reports about General McMaster having disagreements on policy over Russia. Can you say that there will be no other high- profile resignations or exits from the White House staff? SCARAMUCCI: So that -- again, another hypothetical. I honestly cannot answer that one way or the other. Although I have an enormous amount of respect for General McMaster, I just don't know the situation. I'm not going to answer because I don't know.

Yeah. Yeah.

QUESTION: You said you're going to work with the legal team and -- and messaging, as it relates to Russia.

SCARAMUCCI: I didn't say that.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: No, I specific -- I -- no, I specifically said that I haven't been briefed yet by the White House counsel about what is appropriate to talk about from this podium. So, therefore, I don't want to take any questions related to Russia.

QUESTION: OK. So -- well, I'd like to ask you, though, if -- is the strategy that seems to be coming from this White House now in going after Robert Mueller's credibility the right one?

SCARAMUCCI: OK, so, I, again -- that's sort of in that ZIP Code of, like, you know, the legal team, and not really in Sarah or my ZIP Code. So I just want to stay away from the question.

QUESTION: It's a messaging...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: It is a messaging question.

SCARAMUCCI: It's -- it's -- it's actually very complicated, and I don't want to bore all the people here with the legal details related to it. But I think it's important for me on my first day standing up here that I don't go in that direction.

So I'm not going to answer the question, not because I'm not trying to be forthcoming. I just think there's legalities there that I don't want to touch. (CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: My question is really...

SCARAMUCCI: I'm going to take this question first, and then I'll take you, I promise.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Thank you very much, sir.

SCARAMUCCI: Yeah.

QUESTION: Communication...

SCARAMUCCI: These are the last two questions, then I'm going to go. QUESTION: Communication is the key, and president is a great communicator. How important is now relations between the president and the press? And do you think he's -- how he's going to change, and how much he has faith and trust in the White House press? And what is the future?

SCARAMUCCI: Listen, I'm a super optimistic guy. You know, I'm -- I'm too short to see the glass anything other than half full, right? So I'm a super optimistic guy. And I think that the president's going to have a phenomenal relationship with the press. We'll get there together.

Take this last question, then I'm moving.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: My question is in your ZIP Code.

Larry Speakes, who once stood up there, said, "Don't tell us how to stage the news, we won't tell you how to report the news." Do you think that that's an accurate reflection of what your all's job is?

SCARAMUCCI: Say it again.

QUESTION: Larry Speakes said...

SCARAMUCCI: Don't -- don't -- yeah.

QUESTION: ... "Don't tell us how to stage the news, we won't tell you how to report the news." Do you think that's an accurate reflection of our relationship?

SCARAMUCCI: I -- I don't know.

You know, we're in a different world. I mean, I have an enormous amount of respect for Press Secretary Speakes. But when he was standing at this podium, it was a very, very different world. Each one of us right now has a sound studio, recording studio, a movie studio, a television studio right in the palm of our hands, and so we could stage things, and it's going to be read certain ways, it may not be read in other ways.

But I know what Sarah and I are going to work on is reaching as many people as we possibly can for today's era. So maybe he was accurate in the 1980s, but Sarah and I will think of something cute to say once we start working together.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: One more -- one more, Anthony.

SCARAMUCCI: One more?

(CROSSTALK)

SCARAMUCCI: I'll take -- I'll take that one (ph). Yeah. QUESTION: ... the president tweeted that it's impossible for his communications team to know what's in his head at every moment.

SCARAMUCCI: Yeah.

QUESTION: How are you going to make sure that you are on the same page as this president? What have you said to him about the need to know what he's thinking and where he stands as its relates to policy?

SCARAMUCCI: Listen, I know -- you know, I'm not going to speak on behalf of the president. I just feel like I have a close relationship with him. Sarah has a close relationship with him. And I think it's super important for us to let him express his personality.

[15:00:00]

It has been a very successful life experience for President Trump to be President Trump.