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Opinion

Mooch let loose

Good afternoon and welcome to The Point!

Daily Point

Mooch adieu

In fewer than 10 days, those New York values Anthony Scaramucci said he represented might have sunk him from a top job in the White House. The Long Islander was sent packing by new chief of staff John Kelly before he even officially started as the director of communications.

Was it the vulgar interview with a reporter for The New Yorker that doomed the Mooch? The Manhasset financier was credited on Friday with persuading President Donald Trump to fire then-chief of staff Reince Priebus. But after The New Yorker revealed Scaramucci’s rant, his shot at actually getting the chief of staff job ended. It went to the former Marine general. But Mooch was expected to stay to run the communications shop if he got approval from the ethics office that was reviewing his business deals.

However, over the weekend the New York Post said that Scaramucci’s second wife had filed for divorce and that Scaramucci was not present at the birth of his son. Friends of the Mooch blamed supporters of Priebus for the nasty story.

And that may have been the opening for Kelly to get rid of Scaramucci and send a pretty strong message that there was a new law-and-order sheriff in town.

The official White House statement on Scaramucci was brief: “We wish him all the best.”

Rita Ciolli

Greeting Point

In Trump’s ear

When President Donald Trump deplaned from Air Force One Friday afternoon at Long Island MacArthur Airport, three Republican Party leaders who provided the initial welcome to Long Island. Edward Cox, the state GOP chairman; Joseph Mondello, the Nassau County leader; and John Jay LaValle, the Suffolk leader, were on the tarmac close to the stairs. Trump shook hands with each and, according to LaValle, told them it was “great to be back on Long Island.”

Rita Ciolli

Talking Point

Suozzi’s freshman 15 (minutes)

Many members of the House of Representatives are still trying to figure out how to say Suo-zzee, but after the freshman Democrat’s surprise victory in a floor vote Thursday afternoon, they probably know who he is.

It started at 11 p.m. Wednesday, when Rep. Tom Suozzi, a member of the Armed Services Committee, got a unanimous vote on a $34 million amendment to require the Navy to fund the remediation of the Northrop Grumman toxic plume in Bethpage. But by late Thursday afternoon, Republicans thought better of it and refused to include the money in a block of changes to the National Defense Authorization Act that would pass overwhelmingly. The Northrop Grumman amendment would have to survive a tough stand-alone vote in the GOP-controlled chamber.

So with 15 minutes’ notice, the scramble was on. Suozzi called fellow Long Islander Peter King, who had agreed to co-sponsor the Northrop Grumman amendment, and the veteran congressman rushed to the floor. At that point, the amendment was losing badly, but Northrop Grumman was the first vote of the day, and the clock was kept running as members straggled in. When they arrived, however, the members took guidance from their party whips on the obscure issue. At one point, the amendment was down by 50 votes.

On C-SPAN video, King could be seen standing in the well of the House asking for votes, while mostly off camera, a frenetic Suozzi said he went up and down the aisles to find Republicans he knew, fellow freshmen, others in the New York delegation, as well as new friends he had made at workouts in gym and at prayer breakfasts. The amendment pulled even 200-200 and staffers for Democrats who hadn’t voted began pointing their bosses out to Suozzi. They wanted a rare win.

The amendment was now up 216 to 209 and Democrats started to applaud, but the GOP put pressure on its members to reverse their votes, it dropped 215-210. Suozzi said Democrats started chanting, “Close the vote!” Seconds later, time was up, with the amendment passing 214-211 at the buzzer.

Suozzi said Democrats came up to congratulate him, but he acknowledged King. “I couldn’t have done it without him,” he told The Point.

Rita Ciolli

Pointing Out

Our apologies

The Point would like to apologize for costing the New York City taxpayer money.

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio filed a “statement of need” with the city’s Campaign Finance Board asking for the full amount of public matching funds he’s owed for his re-election bid because he claims he’s in a competitive race. That’s more than $2 million over the baseline sum candidates can be eligible for if opposed.

However, to get free taxpayer money, de Blasio’s campaign has to show that it faces more than “minimal opposition” from long-shot primary challengers like Sal Albanese, a former City Council member, and Bob Gangi, a police reform advocate.

That might be why his filing included some head-scratching evidence of those challengers’ seriousness, including an Albanese tweet calling the mayor an expletive (38 retweets, 95 likes). Tweets are not mentioned by the Campaign Finance Board as evidence of opposition. But endorsements and media clips are, and the filing refers to three endorsements, 137 media clips and nine “reporter interactions.” Of those clips and “interactions” between candidate and journalists on social media, three are from The Point.

The CFB asks for a baseline of just one club endorsement or 12 media clips, for example (“interactions” aren’t precisely defined), but because de Blasio’s campaign included more evidence, here’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation of The Point’s contributions to underdog coverage and competitive primaries: three out of 149 clips, endorsements and interactions, divided by the $2 million de Blasio is expected to be granted this week equals $40,268.

Sorry, no refunds.

Mark Chiusano

Columns