T.J. Kirkpatrick for The Wall Street Journal/Redux
White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, left, and communications director Anthony Scaramucci, right, listened as President Donald Trump spoke with reporters during an Wall Street Journal interview.
Could there be a growing feud between two power players in the White House?
That seems to increasingly be the case between President Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and the newly appointed communications director, Anthony Scaramucci.
A photo published by the Wall Street Journal this week seems to perfectly sum up the beef between the two men. During a Tuesday meeting in the Oval Office with the president, who was giving an interview to The Wall Street Journal, photographer T.J. Kirkpatrick caught a shot of the two seeming to aggressively lock eyes.
Kirkpatrick, a Boston University graduate, said he went into the meeting knowing there could be the potential for tension between White House staffers but said he didn’t see the image he captured until later.
“I didn’t actually see what looks like this stare-down between them until I got back and was editing photos,” Kirkpatrick said in an interview with the Globe.
Scaramucci, who was appointed to the job Friday, gave a press briefing hours after the announcement in which he called Priebus “a dear friend” — but said the pair can sometimes fight like siblings.
“We are a little bit like brothers where we rough each other up once in a while, which is totally normal for brothers,” Scaramucci said.
“We have had odds; we have had differences. When I said we were brothers from the podium, that’s because we’re rough on each other,” Priebus said. “Some brothers are like Cain and Abel, other brothers can fight with each other and get along. I don’t know if this is repairable or not, that will be up to the president. If Reince wants to explain that he’s not a leaker, let him do that.”
Even before Scaramucci ascended to the top White House press role, there was already tension between the two men. Trump had wanted Harvard Law-educated Scaramucci for the position from the get-go, but Priebus recommended against it, citing concerns about Scaramucci’s overseas investments, according to The New York Times. Priebus again opposed Scaramucci’s recent appointment — partly because he felt threatened by the new communications director’s “easy banter and direct line” to Trump, The New York Times reported.
On Thursday afternoon, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dodged a question about whether the president has full confidence in Priebus, repeating an often-used line that Trump would dismiss his chief of staff if he didn’t have confidence in him.
Christina Prignano of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Associated Press wire material was used in this report.