Right from the beginning of host Chris Cuomo’s interview with the short-lived former White House press secretary Anthony Scaramucci, the latter struck a combative stance.
Discussing news that President Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon had resigned from Breitbart News, “The Mooch” claimed he wanted to “start with some facts first,” taking issue with Cuomo’s assertion that Bannon’s alt-right base elected the president.
“I don’t think [Trump] hired [Bannon] because of what you said, related to the base,” Scaramucci said. “I think he hired him because he was looking for a slight shift in direction in the strategy.”
After a segue about Trump also hiring Kellyanne Conway around the same time as Bannon in 2016, the interview went progressively downhill.
Scaramucci claimed he wanted to add a “little bit of a clarification” for Cuomo’s viewers, attempting to “fact-check” the host’s stance on Bannon’s role in the Trump campaign by claiming his base had already been in place and “helped him win against 17 other candidates in the Republican primary.”
“Very little, actually, it’s more of a distinction,” the host quipped.
The Mooch proceeded to offer back-handed praise for Bannon, saying that he helped “raise the profile” Breitbart despite it being “not a super-profitable place” after the death of its founder. Ultimately, he ended up praising himself.
“I wanna be fair to him, but I also wanna be accurate,” he said, “because of the things that, you know, I did a reasonably good job of starting two companies from scratch, selling them both, is evaluating talent.”
Despite a lack of pushback from the host, Scaramucci would not let up his dissent on the idea that Bannon’s Breitbart clout was a key part of Trump’s appeal and base.
“I think Bannon’s sell to the president, that ‘I understand these people, they come to me through Breitbart, I’ve been working with them and selling things to them, message wise, you need me,’ worked,” Cuomo countered. “[Trump] was vulnerable, unsure of his team around him. Bannon gave him a confidence. He brought him in, he won, he brought him closer.”
“I’m gonna disagree with that because I was there,” The Mooch responded. “I don’t think the president saw it that way — that could be your analysis.”
Google tightens political ads policy in effort to stop abuse
Google on Wednesday updated how it handles political ads as online platforms remain under pressure to avoid being used to spread misleading information intended to influence voters.
The internet company said its rules already ban any advertiser, including those with political messages, from lying in ads. But it is making its policy more clear and adding examples of how that prohibits content such as doctored or manipulated images or video.
"It's against our policies for any advertiser to make a false claim -- whether it's a claim about the price of a chair or a claim that you can vote by text message, that election day is postponed, or that a candidate has died," Google ads product management vice president Scott Spencer said in an online post.
Pope Francis begins Asia tour with visit to Buddhist temple
Pope Francis will visit one of Thailand's famed gilded temples Thursday to meet the supreme Buddhist patriarch, on the first full day of his Asian tour aimed at promoting religious harmony.
The 82-year-old pontiff is on his first visit to Buddhist majority Thailand, where he will spend four days before setting off to Japan.
His packed schedule a day after touching down in Bangkok includes a meeting with the king and the prime minister before leading an evening mass expected to draw tens of thousands of people from across Thailand, where just over 0.5 percent of the population is Catholic.
Hong Kong campus stalemate persists while US congress passes bill of support for democracy protesters
Hardline Hong Kong protesters held their ground on Thursday in a university besieged for days by police as the US passed a bill lauding the city's pro-democracy movement, setting up a likely clash between Washington and Beijing.
Beijing did not immediately respond to the passage in Washington of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which voices strong support for the "democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong people."
But China had already threatened retaliation if the bill is signed into law by President Donald Trump, and state-run media warned Thursday the legislation would not prevent Beijing from intervening forcefully to stop the "mess" gripping the financial hub.