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Who is new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci?

They call him the Mooch.

Anthony Scaramucci (pronounced scare-uh-MOOCH-ee), a New York financier, TV personality and GOP donor, is the latest addition to the Trump administration’s top ranks.

Hours after his hiring as White House communications director, Scaramucci appeared in front of reporters in a dark blue suit and a bold, bright blue tie. He exuded confidence as he showcased his new role in one of the administration’s highest-profile jobs.

“I love the president,” Scaramucci said. “I’m very, very loyal to the president. And I love the mission the president has.”

When he was finished, he blew an air kiss to the media.

Scaramucci replaces Mike Dubke, who resigned in May. The hiring has already caused controversy in the White House, as press secretary Sean Spicer resigned shortly after news of Scaramucci’s hiring spread in the media.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus and chief strategist Steve Bannon were both reported to have opposed Scaramucci's appointment.

Like Trump, Scaramucci, a Long Island native, is an outer-borough New Yorker without government experience who has ascended through the business world — and television media — to leap directly into the White House.

Scaramucci is a former vice president of Goldman Sachs who went on to found the hedge fund SkyBridge Capital in 2005 and secure a spot as the co-host of a Fox Business Network show in 2015.

"I'm a registered Republican. I'm a fairly free-market person,” Scaramucci told the Los Angeles Times in 2010.

But he has not been dogmatically conservative. He has also hosted the SALT (short for SkyBridge Alternatives) Conference, an annual gathering of financiers, politicians and celebrities that has featured Democrats and Republicans alike.

Although most of his donations have gone to Republicans, Scaramucci has also given thousands of dollars to the campaigns of prominent Democrats, including Hillary Clinton (when she was running for reelection as a senator from New York), Harry Reid (when he was the Senate majority leader) and Barack Obama (when he was first running for president in 2008).

“I am not a partisan just practical,” Scaramucci tweeted in 2011. “I voted for Clinton and Obama.”

His most recent donation to a Democrat, U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York, came in 2015, according to data from the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics.

He has also expressed support for gun control and fighting climate change.

“We (the USA) has 5% of the world's population but 50% of the world's guns,” Scaramucci tweeted in 2012. “Enough is enough. It is just common sense it apply more controls.”

“You can take steps to combat climate change without crippling the economy,” he tweeted early last year. “The fact many people still believe CC is a hoax is disheartening.”

Scaramucci also publicly criticized Trump early in his presidential campaign — calling him a “hack politician” and a member of the "Queens County bullies association” in an appearance on the Fox Business TV network in 2015. He also asked: “Are you a Democratic plant for Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren? Stand here and tell us otherwise."

But Scaramucci has since become a dogged defender of the president and at the news conference Friday apologized to him.

“I should have never said that about him,” Scaramucci said. “So, Mr. President, if you’re listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that. But here’s the wonderful thing about the news media: That was three minutes of my life. He’s never forgotten it, you’ve never forgotten it, but I hope that someday, Mr. President, you’ll forget it.”

Scaramucci stepped down from his role as co-managing partner of SkyBridge “and will no longer be affiliated” with the company, according to a Jan. 17 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

He was recently the target of a retracted CNN article that connected him to the $10-billion Russian Direct Investment Fund. CNN deleted the story, and three of its investigative journalists resigned.

matt.pearce@latimes.com

@mattdpearce

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