Ousted White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci has linked a top adviser to President Trump to the white nationalist movement that fueled a violent rally in Charlottesville, Va., that left three people dead, and he criticized the president's muted response to the violence.
During an ABC News livestream that ran after a pretaped interview on Sunday's This Week, ABC political director Rick Klein asked Scaramucci if Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist, was a white nationalist.
"I don't know," Scaramucci said bluntly. "I've never sat down with Steve Bannon and said, 'Hey, are you a white nationalist or a white supremacist?' But I think the toleration of it by Steve Bannon is inexcusable."
Neither Bannon nor the White House responded to a request for comment.
Earlier, in his interview with This Week host George Stephanopoulos, Scaramucci criticized the influence that Bannon and the conservative website where he used to work, Breitbart, have on the president.
There is a "Bannonbart influence in there, which I think is a snag on the president," Scaramucci said, suggesting Trump needed to move away from "that sort of Bannonbart nonsense" if he hoped to enact his legislative agenda.
Scaramucci also blamed Bannon's influence for the widespread criticism of Trump's muted response to the violence Saturday, in which he blamed "many sides" and refused to call out the white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and Klu Klux Klan members who were the driving force behind the altercations.
"I think he needed to be much harsher as it related to the white supremacists and the nature of that," Scaramucci said. "I certainly would have never suggested him doing that."
Breitbart's main story Saturday about the rally mimicked Trump's response that all sides were responsible for the ensuing violence.
On Sunday, Axios reported that Trump was considering firing Bannon, with close associates' telling Bannon the president was fed up with what he saw as the former Breitbart chief's self-promotion. Bannon is also reportedly believed to be responsible for leaking negative information to right-wing websites like Breitbart intended to undermine the credibility of national security adviser H.R. McMaster, according to Axios and other news reports.
Appearing Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, McMaster dodged three direct questions about whether he could continue to work with Bannon.
"I get to work together with a broad range of talented people," McMaster said. "It's a privilege every day to enable the national security team."
Scaramucci told Stephanopoulos he had spoken with the president last week. He wouldn't say whether Trump was planning to fire Bannon, but implied Bannon's time in the administration would be coming to an end.
"I think the president knows what he's going to do with Steve Bannon," Scaramucci said. "It's his decision. But I mean, at the end of the day, I think the president has a very good idea of who the leakers are inside the White House. The president has a very good idea of the people that are undermining his agenda that are serving their own interests."
Scaramucci was fired just 10 days into his tenure as White House communications director, after the publication of a profanity-laced interview he had with the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza. During the interview, Scaramucci called former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus a "paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoic" and said Bannon was trying to build his own personal brand off "the strength of the president."