Scaramucci: Trump 'controls the news cycle,' should tone down rhetoric

Scaramucci: Trump 'controls the news cycle,' should tone down rhetoric
© Taylor Lorenz

Former White House communications director Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Political editor Steve Scully leaving C-SPAN Influential Republicans detail call to reform party, threaten to form new one MORE said Sunday that President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE should do more to "tone down" his political rhetoric following a week of politically tinged violence.

"I think in general, we've got to tone [the rhetoric] down," Scaramucci told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."

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"He's the President of the United States. He controls the news cycle and the bully pulpit, and he could do it," Scaramucci added. He suggested that Trump needs to lead the way after a Florida man's attempts to mail explosive devices to top members of the Democratic Party and the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that is being charged as a hate crime. 

Scaramucci also defended the president against charges of contributing to anti-Semitism.

"Well, look. The president, he has three Orthodox Jewish grandchildren," Scaramucci told CNN. "I've traveled to Israel four or five times ... it's not clear to me that people in Israel think the president is anti-Semitic."

Trump faced criticism this week for his rhetoric amid reports of explosive devices mailed to several top Democrats who have been personally targeted by Trump in past speeches, such as Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote MORE and billionaire Democratic mega-donor George Soros.

"In these times, we have to unify. We have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America,” Trump said Wednesday, after the bomb threats. 

CNN president Jeff Zucker, whose own newsroom received a suspicious package addressed to former CIA director and current MSNBC contributor John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanUFOs are an intriguing science problem; Congress must act accordingly How transparency on UFOs can unite a deeply divided nation The world's most passionate UFO skeptic versus the government MORE, responded by calling on the president and his top aides to take greater responsibility for their words.

"Their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that," Zucker said in a statement.

Trump has also explicitly condemned the Pittsburgh shooting as anti-Semitic

“If you don't mind, I'm going to tone it down, just a little bit," Trump said at a rally in Illinois Saturday night after the synagogue shooting.

"Is that okay?" he asked.

After the crowd responded with a 'No,” he said, "I had a feeling you might say that."

--This report was updated at 12:01 p.m.