Former White House Communications Director Shares Insights with Students
Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci spoke to hundreds of Sacred Heart University students in February as part of the Jack Welch College of Business Dean’s Leadership Lecture Series.
At the Martire Forum, Scaramucci was introduced by Bobby Valentine, SHU’s athletic director, before the audience watched a brief clip of an upcoming documentary on Scaramucci. The founder of SkyBridge Capital stood to the side of the room, next to SHU students, as he watched the video. He then sat down with John Chalykoff, dean of the Jack Welch College of Business, for a town hall-like question-and-answer session.
“We’re delighted to have you back,” said Chalykoff, referring to Scaramucci’s last visit in 2016. “A lot has happened to you since then.” Chalykoff listed some of his accomplishments including his new book Trump, The Blue Collar President, which he later signed for students, and appearances on The Tonight Show, The View and Celebrity Big Brother.
“It was the most fun I ever had,” Scaramucci said about the CBS reality TV show, noting that his biggest takeaway was the need to put down the phone and talk to the people next to you. “You can just put your phone down and learn about people.” He also said the show reminded him not to take himself too seriously.
Scaramucci thanked Chalykoff and the University for having him; many college campuses aren’t as welcoming. “You allow people from different political perspectives to come to campus,” he said. In the past, student groups from a variety of colleges wanted him to speak, but their administration wouldn’t allow it. “We need to focus on right and wrong, not whether you’re from the left or right,” he said.
Chalykoff then asked “The Mooch” – “what do you think President Donald Trump’s chances are for winning re-election in 2020?”
Scaramucci shared some statistics and told the dean and the audience that it’s nearly impossible to unseat a president in a rising economy. He said Trump’s a tough guy, and he’s already raising money for his 2020 campaign.
Chalykoff then asked if it was likely the United States would see a recession soon. Scaramucci said he didn’t think a recession would happen in the next year or so, but said there’s likely to be a slowdown during the 2020 election. “Even if there is only 1 percent growth in the economy, that still bodes well for the sitting president,” he said.
Senior Neil Grasso was the first student to ask Scaramucci a question. The communications major asked the entrepreneur how effective Trump’s Twitter tactics and political nicknames were especially with people who may not be too in tune with politics.
Scaramucci said Trump tweeting during the campaign and saying negative things about his opponents helped him “hop” over the biases of many of the mainstream media stations. But Scaramucci said he disagreed with how the president uses the social media channel today. “It’s not strategic,” he said. “The derogatory comments are hurting him. They don’t reflect well on the Office [of the President]…it’s in poor taste.”
He also noted that when Trump isn’t the center of attention, or isn’t tweeting something negative, his approval ratings go up.
Students asked Scaramucci questions that ranged from millennials voting and his most memorable moment during his 11 days working as White House communications director to who the Democratic Party is going to endorse for the 2020 election.
Once the town hall meeting concluded, Scaramucci signed copies of his book, posed for photos and spoke with students one-on-one.
If you are unable to view the images above, visit the Anthony Scaramucci Flickr gallery from February 18, 2019.