Independent journalist, Mike Cernovich exclusively obtained former Communications Director, Anthony Scaramucci’s rough draft memo outlining his communication plan for the White House staff from before he was fired.
Cernovich revealed the ‘Mooch Memo’ in a Medium post. Below are some excerpts. Read the full post on Medium here.
Priority #1 — Improve the Culture
This is the key — everything is possible with a good culture, nothing is possible without it
a) meet with media members (MSM, conservative media, and new media), where possible, on their home turf to build bridges and foster better working relationships. WH should leave old grudges behind, but never forget.
b) meet with WH and cabinet communication staff to seek constructive input and convey that good ideas are welcomed regardless of the source. This should be an ongoing modus operandi, not an isolated initiative.
c) Implement a series of professionalizing initiatives immediately. For example, no WH communication staffer goes home without returning all calls, emails, and texts. People may not like our answers — but they should always be treated professionally and respectfully (obviously, this starts with the new Director of Communications)
d) Recognize good work in a consistent and formal way. Establish a meritocracy where real contributions to Comms are recognized. Make it clear that horn tooting and denigrating colleagues is unacceptable
e) No more threats about leaking and internal game playing — anyone who takes actions that do not serve the President will be dismissed — period. We will eliminate the bad eggs and send a powerful message to the remaining staff that well-intentioned mistakes are acceptable, but misconduct is not.
f) Upgrade talent incrementally — prioritize culture. New communication staffers must make others better/more effective. We need to be a great team, not a collection of talented individuals with their own agendas.
g) Reach out and collaborate with Cabinet, Congress, the RNC, and surrogates and validators throughout the country. People want to help POTUS succeed, but they need to feel welcomed, appreciated and empowered. Comms, justifiably or not, has a reputation as fiefdom that is difficult to work with. We need to improve the quality and quantity of interactions between Comms and its various constituents.
Priority #2 — Comms is a Customer Service Operation — POTUS is the Number One Customer
-before undertaking new and creative initiatives, Comms must more effectively handle the daily/weekly blocking and tackling of a WH Comms shop
a) Comms needs to be structurally re-organized to serve its various customers
-a group dedicated to serving as a PR department for POTUS and his family members. Comms need to humanize POTUS and burnish his image. For example, POTUS is the best golfer to serve as President. Perhaps, we embrace it with a national online lottery to play a round of golf with him….or a charity auction. POTUS has a funny and irreverent side which was shared with the electorate during the campaign
-a rapid response group dedicated to handling hot issues/crises to insure more effective responses while enabling Comms to stay on point/message and conduct normal operations (i.e. the Clinton White House Lewinsky model).
-a strategy group to work cooperatively with colleagues throughout the WH to develop communication strategies and specific executable plans that are coordinated with Cabinet officials and the Hill for a select group of important issues/initiatives
-Responsibilities need to be clearly defined for certain important roles — managing relationships with the Hill, Cabinet comms, and surrogates/validators. Clear structure will provide better performance and accountability.
b) The media is an important Comms customer
- POTUS can choose to fight with the media, but Comms can not.
- -Comms should seek to de-escalate tensions with the media.
- -Comms will continue to challenge stories that are unfair/untrue, but also express appreciation for good and fair coverage. Comms can be strong without being combative.
- -Comms should establish a constructive “complaint box” for the media to make complaints. Where possible, Comms will seek to make changes that make sense. Regardless, relations with the media will improve if their complaints are welcomed and considered
- c) Cabinet members and their staff are customers too.
- -Comms sets the message, but cabinet members will better serve POTUS if they are supported and treated like members of POTUS’s team.
- -Comms talent throughout the administration has been underutilized. This can be remedied by sharing information freely, soliciting input, treating colleagues professionally, and coordinated empowerment
- d) Surrogates/validators are important customers. They need to be serviced, supported, and coordinated better.
- e) All Comms actions/decisions need to be evaluated through one and only one prism —does it help POTUS. To this end, I will lead by example and make sure that my overall conduct, tweets, internal and external comments meet this standard
Priority #3. Make the News — We Go First
a) Execution is everything!!! Diagnosing the problems is easy- fixing it will be hard work.
–Comms needs to be run like a news channel with producers, scripts, and narration
-there needs to be clear individual responsibilities, accountability, and a complete dedication to the team/excellence
-Comms needs better players at many positions. We will give existing staff the opportunity to raise their games, but expect to make changes in a considered, no/low drama way
-Comms should not fix things that aren’t broken; but should move quickly (without rushing) to fix things the numerous things that are
-Comms needs to do a much better job anticipating media follow-up and reaction. If we say X, they will ask Y. We need to be prepared for Y. Most Ys are predictable. It is Comms’ responsibility to be ready with a response and to have surrogates prepared for the inevitable Ys.
b) the refined Roger Ailes theory- we exercise influence over the news cycle because POTUS and the government make news — (i.e. do things on a daily basis that matter). An effective Comms shop will dictate the news of the day on most days.
Exclusive – Mooch’s communications strategy memo is in my hands, Mooch will be holding a press conference within 48 hours.
— Mike Cernovich 🇺🇸 (@Cernovich) August 2, 2017
Scoop – Mooch will be setting up an off-West Wing communications shop with the sole purpose of helping the President.
— Mike Cernovich 🇺🇸 (@Cernovich) August 2, 2017