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Trump’s Long Island bouncer
The embodiment of the culture of Long Island, a place we all know is truly different from the rest of the country, has gone through many iterations. The ’90s were the Joey Buttafuoco era, the auto body shop owner who had an affair with a certain Lolita.
And entertainers like Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Alec Baldwin and now Kate McKinnon have come to define our genius at making fun of ourselves and brilliantly razzing others.
In less than a week, however, Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci, the new White House director of communications from Manhasset, seems to have willingly taken up the mantle. Certainly, he likes announcing that he’s arrived: On Tuesday night, he tweeted a picture of him aboard his first flight on Air Force One.
And he’s proud of getting in your face, just like his outer-borough boss, Donald Trump. It got very New Yorkish Wednesday morning on national television. In an pugilistic exchange with Chris Cuomo, host of CNN’s “New Day,” who criticized Trump’s public trashing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Scaramucci defended Trump’s “upfrontness” by citing a “great line” from former NYC Mayor Ed Koch. “He says, ‘Hey, I’m not getting the cancer. I’m giving you the cancer.’ And the point is that the president is a very expressive guy, and he is going to let the society know and the people of the United States know how he feels on a day-to-day basis.”
Actually Koch said, “I’m not the type to get ulcers . . . I give them.” But close enough. Like his boss, he almost nailed the reference.
But if it seems anyone can be a brash New Yorker, Scaramucci knows that at his core he is a Long Islander.
Peter Nicholas, a Wall Street Journal reporter, said so Wednesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He said his newspaper’s 45-minute interview Tuesday with Trump was more disciplined than say the lengthy, rambling one the president gave to The New York Times because Scaramucci was now in charge of controlling the rope line. Other top aides, such as chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, were also present to keep things in check.
“And at one point they kind of policed the fact that it was time to leave. Anthony Scaramucci got up, stood behind me. He kind of made a joke about him affecting the role of a Long Island bouncer. You know, it was time for us to head out of the Oval Office,” said Nicholas.
What exactly did Scaramucci say, The Point wanted to know. Nicholas replied in an email that he quipped that, “Gary (Cohn) and I are bouncers from Long Island.”
Can’t spell PowerPoint without power
The wagons are circling against Mayor Bill de Blasio’s refusal to commit funding for the MTA emergency plan to fix the subways.
MTA chairman Joe Lhota asked for the city’s help Tuesday. The MTA sent out a quote from de Blasio’s old boss, Mayor David Dinkins. (Dinkins avoided discussing funding directly). And now the Transit Workers Union Local 100 is launching an ad campaign including the TV commercial taunt: “Where is Mayor de Blasio? Playing politics with our commute.”
It’s not great optics for de Blasio in the midst of a re-election campaign. In a short TV spot, it’s also easy for the viewer to miss complicated issues of who operates the MTA, who owns the subways and who is responsible for paying the bills.
De Blasio insists the state and MTA have the money and responsibility for the plan. Spokesman Eric Phillips said in an email the TWU ad doesn’t change anything: “We don’t believe New York riders should have to pay more.”
The mayor has made that argument in multiple subway appearances this week, but Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has repeatedly said de Blasio needs to get on board with some cash. Cuomo has committed to fund half of the $800 million and has helped out in other ways, too.
At the end of Lhota’s highly anticipated presentation on Tuesday, for example, the chairman noted that Cuomo’s office helped out with the extensive PowerPoint presentation he used to make his funding case.
“They tend to do PowerPoints better than we do,” Lhota said.
Make Your Point
LIRR commuters are halfway through the third week of Amtrak’s emergency repairs at Penn Station. And Amtrak is boasting that it’s ahead of schedule.
On Thursday, the editorial board will take a look for itself, joining Amtrak CEO Charles “Wick” Moorman for a tour of Penn’s control room and the track work at “A interlocking,” where the majority of repairs are taking place. We also will be talking about the future of rail infrastructure in the region.
Before we go, we want to hear from you: Share your questions about Penn Station or Amtrak. Email us at ThePoint@newsday.com.
And look for our update on what we saw in Thursday’s Point.