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Analysis: 'The Mooch' is under President Trump's skin amid recession warnings

John T. Bennett, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- Anthony Scaramucci is under Donald Trump's skin, hitting a nerve as the president frets about his re-election chances amid economic warning signs.

The former White House communications director was back on CNN Monday morning, delivering another broadside on his former boss just four days after a Trump's stated favorite news organization, Fox News, released a poll showing him trailing the four leading Democratic presidential hopefuls -- including former Vice President Joe Biden by 12 percentage points.

Scaramucci dismissed an anchor's characterization as "crazy talk" his recent prediction Trump will drop his re-election bid by March, laying out a scenario in which the president's approval rating dips into the low-30s.

"What he's done on the trade situation has totally destabilized the global economy," said the man known colloquially as "The Mooch," referring to his tariffs on Chinese goods and war of threats with China's Xi Jinping-led government.

"It's hurting the entire capital market system," he said. "The forecast for a recession now before the election is about 60 percent. ... That's a direct result of the uncertainty around the (possible China) trade deal."

But Scaramucci wasn't finished, alleging that the president is growing "more unstable and more erratic." He said Republicans need to be offered a credible "off ramp."

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld is seeking the GOP nomination, and former South Carolina Republican Rep. and Gov. Mark Sanford has said he is considering a challenge Trump in the 2020 Republican primary. There's also retiring Rep. Justin Amash, who has said he might consider running -- but as a libertarian.

Trump's former communications director pitched a strategy under which a Republican would skip Iowa, New Hampshire and other early primary states to focus on bigger ones with more delegates to take to the 2020 party convention in Charlotte.

"The Mooch" also blasted Trump for his behavior, telling CNN, "You can't have the social fabric of the United States disintegrate over one man" and sending this message to his fellow-Republicans: "You have to break for your children."

Minutes after Scaramucci's appearance on the network's morning show ended, Trump signaled he is concerned with his former employee's message, tweeting that Scaramucci is an "highly unstable 'nut job' who was with other candidates in the primary who got shellaced (sic), and then unfortunately wheedled his way into my campaign."

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