How Donald Trump Made Wall Street Kiss His … Ring

 

BY 

The No. 1 thing for me is that I grew up a Republican,” Anthony Scaramucci was telling me last week, inside the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas. Scaramucci, who is known affectionately on Wall Street as “The Mooch,” is a man of many talents. The former Goldman Sachs private-wealth manager runs the successful hedge fund SkyBridge Capital. He’s also an owner of the Hunt & Fish Club, a Midtown Manhattan restaurant that caters to Wall Street types who neither hunt nor fish. (It does, however, feature a nice kosher ribeye for $61.)

The Mooch also throws the annual SALT Conference, which is fast becoming the hedge-fund industry’s equivalent of the Allen & Co. Sun Valley confab. SALT is set, almost too perfectly, in Vegas. Scaramucci and I were speaking after a dinner with SALT grandees including John Boehner, T. Boone Pickens, Ken Griffin, David Petraeus, Larry Summers, and, somewhat curiously, Will Smith. (I was part of the festivities; this year, I interviewed myVanity Fair colleague Michael Lewis.)

But the Mooch’s latest trick may be his newfound political flexibility. Two months ago, I attended a luncheon at the Hunt & Fish Club to which Scaramucci invited the renowned pollster Frank Luntz in order to show a number of videos illustrating Donald Trump’sstrength as a candidate. The Mooch, who had initially supported Scott Walker before turning to Jeb Bush, was noticeably chastened by the presentation. “I’m going to say one last thing to the Democrats here, because I really don’t want Trump to be president, so I want you to listen very carefully, O.K.?” Scarmucci declared that afternoon. “He was underestimated by Walker and his team. He was mis-underestimated—which is a George W. Bush word and which doesn’t exist—he was mis-underestimated by the Jeb Bush team. Now he’s been completely mis-underestimated by the entire Republican Party. And when she”—referring to Hillary Clinton—“talks about him, she sounds and smells like she’s already underestimating him. So I’m just giving you guys a heads up. Do not underestimate the guy.”

Two months later, Scaramucci had decided not to underestimate the guy, either. He had now made his peace with Trump. In fact, he had made two pilgrimages in the past eight days to visit the candidate at his lair in Trump Tower. When I asked the Mooch if he saw any contradiction in his behavior, he simply demurred. It was all business, he insisted. “I’m a very loyal Republican, O.K.?” he said. “It wasn’t my first choice or my second choice.” Then he recalled a moment from one of his conversations with the candidate: “What I said to him was, ‘You’re the people’s choice and out of respect for our democracy and the representative system, I’m here to help you. Tell me how I can help you.’”

Read on.

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