New Trump communications boss comes out swinging

White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci blows a kiss after a press briefing. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP)
White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci blows a kiss after a press briefing. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP)

Washington - Donald Trump's new communications director Anthony Scaramucci vowed on Sunday to usher in a fresh start in the White House, beginning with a clampdown on leaks that have led to months of largely unfavourable headlines.

"One of the first things I want to do is to get the leaks stopped," Scaramucci told the Fox News Sunday programme.

"It's Washington, so it's going to be impossible to stop all of them, but I think what's going on right now is a high level of unprofessionalism and it's not serving the president," he said, adding that if needed, "I will take dramatic action to stop those leaks."

He spelled out what "dramatic action" might mean in comments to another news programme - promising to fire those found to speak without authorisation to the media.

"If they want to stay on the staff, they're going to stop leaking," he told CBS television's Face the Nation talk show.

Since taking office in January, Trump has been incensed by the amount of information leaking from the West Wing, revealing infighting, coordination problems and private conversations in the upper echelons of his team.

Scaramucci, a millionaire New York financier, was named by Trump on Friday to the helm of the White House press operation, a vital role for the media-aware president.

That move led to the resignation of beleaguered press secretary Sean Spicer, who was replaced by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, his former deputy.

During his maiden outing running the Sunday news show gauntlet, Scaramucci said his top priority would be to change the "culture" in the White House press operation - including continuing to lash out at what Trump famously has decried as "fake news".

"He doesn't feel that he's being effectively defended in the mainstream media with the nonsense narratives out," Scaramucci told CNN.

"We're going to change that for him. We're going to defend him very, very aggressively when there's nonsensical stuff being said about him."

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