NEW YORK—There is a large swath of people in so-called flyover America who are often misunderstood by news outlets, academics, and politicians.
Many of them felt abandoned by the establishment that was supposed to represent their interests, before candidate-turned-President Donald Trump found a way to invigorate this voting base.
Anthony Scaramucci, an American financier, entrepreneur, and a former White House director of communications, said his understanding of blue-collar America evolved. He shares details about his observations in his new book, “Trump, the Blue-Collar President.”
Coming to understand Trump’s base was a process for Scaramucci, which he said he’s honest about in his book.
“It wasn’t until I got on the campaign that I realized, wait a minute, he’s talking to the people I grew up with, and the people I grew up with aren’t doing so well,” Scaramucci said.
“I came from this blue-collared neighborhood, but I got rich,” he said. “And as a result of me getting rich, I tunneled into my little confirmed bias-rich treehouse, and I missed what was going on down on the ground.”
“I really missed what was going on in the flyover states in middle America. So, part of that book is a revelatory observation, but also an indictment of myself.”
This experience, he said, is something that others may be able to learn from: “If you’re just talking to each other, then, of course, you’re going to start thinking like each other.”
Outside of the big cities, however, and into middle America, the average blue-collar worker sees a very different world. Many of these Americans live in a state of what Scaramucci described as “economic desperation,” where families are struggling to get by.
It’s these individuals, the struggling middle-class Americans, that often support Trump with the vigor seen at his rallies.
“You realize that they’re looking at us and saying, ‘The establishment has failed me. I’d like to try something new, please,'” he said.
Scaramucci, who was part of the Trump campaign for close to a year, spent just 11 days as the White House director of communications before being fired in 2017. He holds no hard feelings about the firing, although he says he wishes it could have been done in a less public manner. He’s stood by his support of Trump.
Some of this comes from his own observations of the president at work. He said Trump is a “no-nonsense guy that’s trying to do the right thing for a very large group of people. I’ve seen him in action, away from the cameras, away from the hysteria, away from the theatrics—I’ve seen him in action and he’s very well-intended.”
On the other hand, Scaramucci said he also got a glimpse the “swamp” of Washington.
“I learned that the swamp—these are very bad people. The swamp is a zero-sum philosophy … These guys are stabbing each other’s eyeballs out. They want to take each other out. That’s not fun. If you want to make this society better, let’s collaborate. Let’s cooperate, we can make this society way better,” Scaramucci said.
In addition, Scaramucci said, much of Washington had lost sight of the issues that average Americans care about.
“If you’re a Democrat, and you read this book, you should close it and say, ‘Okay, the guy told me I got my product wrong. I wanted to save the dolphin that choked on the plastic straw; I got that. There’s an ice cube melting in the North Pole; I understand that. And I want to understand that people talk politically correctly to each other, so they don’t offend each other; I got that. But these blue-collar workers, for some reason, they were my core constituency, but I ignored them.’
“I’m trying to tell them, don’t ignore them,” Scaramucci said.
When it comes to blue-collar America, he said people see Trump as “somebody that is taking on the establishment. They see somebody that is advocating for them.”
Scaramucci says that past administrations focused on international trade deals designed to create an international interdependence—which some groups view as a system that could help reduce conflict. But that came with a cost.
The globalist system, he said, had a “dilatory side effect of hollowing-out a lot of manufacturing centers in the United States.”
Scaramucci said blue-collar Americans have felt the impact of this hollowing-out, and “These people are saying ‘No mas. Please help me.'”