In the latest episode of “White House Survivor,” the West Wing descended into chaos Thursday, as President Trump and his top aides turned on each other like vicious reality show divas — with no one sure who would be the next to get a knife in their back.
The most jaw-dropping twist in the plot-line came when new communications chief Anthony Scaramucci vent on a vulgar tirade against Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in a phone call to a reporter late on Wednesday night.
“Reince is a f–king paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci ranted at Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker.
The reporter said Scaramucci — a millionaire investment guru know on Wall Street as “The Mooch” — wanted to know the source behind a story about him having dinner at the White House Wednesday night with Trump, Fox News host Sean Hannity and ex-Fox News exec Bill Shine.
“Who leaked that to you?” Scaramucci demanded, suggesting it was Priebus.
When Lizza declined to tell him, Scaramucci threatened to fire his entire staff.
“OK, I’m going to fire every one of them, and then you haven’t protected anybody, so the entire place will be fired over the next two weeks. I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves,” he said.
Scaramucci then laced into White House adviser Steve Bannon.
“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own c–k,” he said about Trump’s chief strategist.
“I’m not trying to build my own brand off the f–king strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”
He then said he wanted to “f–king kill all the leakers” and referred to himself in the third person as he declared he would clean house.
“O.K., ‘The Mooch’ showed up a week ago. This is going to get cleaned up very shortly, OK?” he said.
Scaramucci then sent a cryptic, since-deleted tweet later Wednesday in which he wrongly called the “leak” of his publicly available financial forms “a felony,” adding “@reince45” to the message, apparently blaming Priebus for the leak.
Later on Thursday, Scaramucci released a twitter statement, in which he didn’t deny the obscenity-laden comments against Priebus.
“I sometimes use colorful language. I will refrain in this arena but not give up the passionate fight for @realDonaldTrump’s agenda,” he wrote, adding: “#MAGA”
Scaramucci, who has been on the job less than a week, then went on CNN Thursday morning and again put the heat on the Chief of Staff — whose position is usually considered the second most powerful in Washington D.C. behind the President.
“When I put out a tweet and I put Reince’s name in a tweet, they’ll all make the assumption that it’s him because journalists know who the leakers are,” he said.
“If Reince wants to explain he’s not a leaker, let him do that,” he said. “But let me tell you about myself. I’m a straight shooter and I’ll go right to the heart of the matter.”
He even called for the death penalty for leakers.
“Those are the types of leaks that are so treasonous that 150 years ago, people would have actually been hung for those types of leaks,” he declared.
The former New York financier also suggested that he and Preibus, the former chair of the Republican National Committee, might never be able to patch up their fractured relationship.
“Now, if you want to talk about the Chief of taff, we have had odds, we have had differences,” Scaramucci said, comparing the two to the biblical brothers Cain and Abel.
“When I said we were brothers from the podium, that’s because we’re rough on each other. 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,” he said.
But Trump personally orchestrated the chaos, a new report said.
“The president specifically gave [Scaramucci] the green light to go after Reince,” a White House adviser told The Daily Beast.
Scaramucci also claimed that he had gotten Trump’s “blessing” for his attacks in a phone call with the president prior to the CNN interview.
The “president is not concerned with Reince’s feelings,” the source told the website.
But Trump has no plans to can Priebus even though he’s been harshly critical of his chief of staff for months.
Asked about the unseemly infighting, Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said only that, “The president, as always, enjoys healthy competition.”
But she refused to say whether Trump still had confidence in Priebus.
The Mooch had already threatened to send his entire press shop to the guillotine over leaking— and one, press aide Michael Short beat him to the punch, quitting before he was fired.
Priebus’ ultimate fate remained uncertain — which has essentially been his status since Trump’s inauguration as he has feuded with the president, adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Bannon.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been tormented by Trump almost daily, took the high road Thursday.
“I serve at the pleasure of the president. I’ve understood that from the day I took the job,” he said.
The former Alabama senator has been unable to shake Trump’s wrath despite being an early supporter and a conservative favorite.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!” Trump railed in a typical Twitter broadside.
But he also told Fox News that Trump’s pointed barbs had been “hurtful.”
“It’s kind of hurtful but the President of the United States is a strong leader… he wants us all to do our job and that’s what I intend to do,” he said.
Insiders speculated that Trump was trying to force his AG to resign, a possible first step toward firing special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into Russian meddling in the election.
Bannon himself has maintained a low profile recently in the hopes of flying under Trump’s radar after he was portrayed as a presidential puppetmaster, putting Trump under his nationalist spell.
Even veteran corporate infighters are reportedly flummoxed by the constant turbulence.
A spokesman for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — who has reportedly grown frustrated with the president, Kushner and others — said this week he was taking some time off, fueling speculation that he could be looking for an escape route. He denied it.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) told CNN that while some public spats are inevitable in every administration “in this White House it’s out of control.”
“You don’t have to comment on everything,” he said. “I wouldn’t do it.”
Additional reporting by Mark Moore with AP