Anthony Scaramucci talks President Trump at JBiz Expo


Anthony Scaramucci talks President Trump at JBiz Expo

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci talks about the brief time he spent in the Washington D.C. with President Trump.

HOLMDEL – Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director who made headlines for vulgar comments about his co-workers, said Tuesday business success depends on confidence, ethics and treating people with respect.

Meanwhile, he sounded like he had no hard feelings about being fired from President Donald Trump’s staff after just 11 days.

“I was too salty and too colloquial with (a confidant) on the phone, and that’s my fault,” Scaramucci said. “I own that. I’m not blaming anybody else for that and so when John Kelly decided it was time for me to leave the White House because of that, no problem. That doesn’t mean I’m going to break my loyalty from the president.”

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Scaramucci spoke to entrepreneurs at a business expo hosted by the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce at Bell Works in Holmdel.

In doing so, he turned to an audience that has embraced him since his tumultuous — but brief — turn as Trump’s communications chief.

“He’s a very close personal friend of mine,” said Duvi Honig, president of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce. “We’re very close, very tight, and he shares our passion, our mission. And we were honored to have him as a businessman.”

Scaramucci has returned to his position as managing director of the hedge fund SkyBridge Capital, which sponsored the chamber’s event, called JBiz Expo & Conference.

His time at the White House included a lasting image of him offering air kisses to the press corps as something of a peace offering. And it included an unceremonious resignation after he spoke with vulgarity to a New Yorker reporter about members of Trump’s staff.

It was a kinder, gentler Scaramucci who addressed the chamber. He noted his own life has been shaped by his own Italian upbringing and Jewish culture, thanks in part to his time growing up in Long Island with a Jewish friend whose mother hammered home the importance of academic achievement.

And he laid out five lessons for entrepreneurs. Among them: Brace for politics; treat employees well; and don’t cut corners.

“I have found, and this was particularly true at the White House, that the people that are the backstabbers, and the people that are the carpers and the complainers and the biters and develop a level of paranoia are the ones that are a little insecure,” Scaramucci said.

Good managers, he said, know how to make others feel confident about themselves.

“Confident people don’t talk badly about other people, they don’t need to,” he said. “The only time I’m talking about people badly is when they are hitting me. I never hit first.”

Scaramucci’s return to private life hasn’t been without conflict. He resigned last November from an advisory board at his alma mater, Tufts University near Boston, after he threatened to sue a student and the student newspaper for a column that condemned him in part for his connection to Trump.

His connection to Trump didn’t appear to be an obstacle for the Orthodox Jewish chamber, even though the president’s tenure has drummed up a wave of anti-Semitism that included a 2017 march in Charlottesville, Virginia, by white supremacists carrying flags with swastikas.

Trump blamed both the marchers and the people protesting them.

“His (Trump’s) support for Israel is unequivocal,” said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. “It is difficult for me to understand how the support of the Orthodox Jews persists despite his reluctance to make a moral distinction between anti-Semitic white nationalists and anti-racist protesters, but somehow they have decided that his policies justify their support.”

Rabbi Avi Schnall, New Jersey director for Agudath Israel of America, said Orthodox Jews, like other deeply religious Americans, are siding with Trump.

At the heart of the support from the Orthodox community: Trump moved the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a city that both Israelis and Palestinians claim as their capital.

Should Trump have done more to condemn the white extremists?

“This is his first year being president,” Schnall said. “If you want to make every single thing he’s (done as) being 1,000 percent perfect, I’m not sure. But I think making the moves he’s made has been the most forceful statement in the defense of Jews. And the executive orders he’s made to expand the rights of religion is the most forceful statement one can ask for.”

Scaramucci recently returned to SkyBridge after a deal to sell the hedge fund to China-based HNA Group was rejected by the Trump administration because of national security concerns.

After leaving the White House, Scaramucci was invited by Honig to join the chamber on a five-day networking trip to Israel. The trip last December included a visit to Yad Vashem, a Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, Honig said.

Since then, Scaramucci has appeared on Honig’s Twitter account, fighting back against University of Minnesota students who called on the school to boycott and divest from companies doing business in Israel.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever met Anthony, but he’s very different than what the media made him look like,” Honig said. “He’s a great person. He’s a lovable person. He’s down to earth. He has great values. And he’s really passionate and cares about everyone.”

Michael L. Diamond; @mdiamondapp; 732-643-4038;

Originally Published 5:00 a.m. EDT June 4, 2018 . Updated 6:50 p.m. EDT June 5, 2018


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