Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci suggested that John Kelly is handling the fallout from the Rob Porter scandal poorly by trying to “cover it up.”
“The cover-up is always worse than the crime,” Scaramucci told David Axelrod in an upcoming segment of “The Axe Files,” a podcast from the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.
“I would say, ‘Jeez, you know, I knew about it. I was going to give the guy a pass because he told me it wasn’t true and I apologize to the American people for that. He’s been let go and I’d still like to keep my job,”’ Scaramucci explained. “That’s what I would do if I was General Kelly.”
Scaramucci said if he were the White House chief of staff, he wouldn’t say he “didn’t know about it when (he) knew about it or try to cover it.”
“We’re in a society now where everyone’s going to find out everything anyway,” he noted.
Porter, who served as White House staff secretary, resigned this week amid abuse allegations from two ex-wives, who each detailed to CNN what they said were years of consistent abuse from Porter, including incidents of physical violence. Porter has denied those allegations.
There is growing frustration among Trump’s aides and allies in and out of the White House that Kelly badly mishandled the abuse claims. Sources say Kelly knew for months about some claims that Porter physically and emotionally battered the women, yet didn’t conduct an internal investigation into their veracity.
Scaramucci was ousted from his brief role at the White House in July 2017. A White House official said at the time that Kelly wanted Scaramucci removed because he did not think he was disciplined and had burned his credibility following a salacious interview he gave The New Yorker magazine.
Axelrod’s full conversation with Scaramucci on “The Axe Files” will be available for download Monday.
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny, Kevin Liptak, and MJ Lee contributed to this report.