Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci suggested in an interview last month shortly before his dismissal that Vice President Mike Pence was protecting himself with a staffing choice, The Hill reports.
Scaramucci’s comment, made during his infamous interview with the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, was published Tuesday after The New York Times reported over the weekend that Pence advisers claimed he has been signaling to GOP donors he will run in 2020 if President Donald Trump does not.
“Why do you think Nick’s there, bro?” Scaramucci said during the phone call, referring to Nick Ayers, Pence’s chief of staff who was appointed to the position last month.
“Are you stupid? Why is Nick there? Nick’s there to protect the Vice-President because the Vice-President can’t believe what the f— is going on,” Scaramucci added, Lizza reported.
Scaramucci, who was ousted from his role in the White House after just 10 days, did not respond to Lizza’s request for comment on Tuesday to explain the comment.
The New Yorker published the remarks following the Times report over the weekend about Republicans potentially eyeing a bid in 2020 should Trump decide not to run for reelection. Pence ripped the story, calling it “laughable and absurd” to suggest he would run for president in 2020.
The Times report noted that Ayers had previously “worked on many campaigns but never in the federal government” before he was appointed Pence’s new chief of staff last month.
In the Times report, it said that Ayers had “signaled to multiple major Republican donors that Pence wants to be ready”. Lizza speculated that Scaramucci’s comments about Pence’s chief of staff may have been referring to providing protection to the vice president from any fallout should Trump not finish his term or decide not to seek another.