Scaramucci Shelves Trump Role for a Night to Talk Squats, Babies

  • Benefit for R Baby is ‘refreshing moment’ not to talk politics
  • Guests preview app locating pediatric-ready emergency rooms

Anthony Scaramucci, arriving at the Plaza Hotel Wednesday night for the R Baby Foundation 10th anniversary benefit, warned a guest about kissing him on the cheek.

“I’ve got lots of makeup on,” he said.

Anthony Scaramucci, left, greets the founders of R Baby Foundation, Phyllis Rabinowitz and Andrew Rabinowitz.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Such are the hazards of going on television (and Bloomberg radio) as a member of the executive committee of president-elect Donald Trump’s transition team.

One upside: Guests had an obvious greeting (“Saw you on TV”) -- and conversation topic.

“We’re going from zero to 4,700 people in about six months,” Scaramucci said of the transition, during a brief off-camera interview on the balcony of the Terrace Room.

His focus, he added, is around the culture for that sort of startup and draws on his own experience as a entrepreneur, founding SkyBridge Capital.

“I tell people that come and see me, ‘Take your ego and put it in a jar and go walk it over to the 14th-floor pantry and come into the room and let’s talk about the American people,’" Scaramucci said.

That approach is also why he hasn’t lobbied for a position in the administration, he said, though if asked, “I’m a patriot.”

Bruce Richards, James Greenberg (of Panorama Partners) and Jeremy Kroll

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Then another guest sidled up to take a selfie with him. Yes, in this room of mostly Wall Street types, more people requested selfies with Scaramucci than with comedian and “Saturday Night Live” alum Colin Quinn, who performed later in the evening.

The president-elect and his cabinet picks came up in plenty of huddles over cocktails and sliders, including one with Bruce Richards, the chief executive of Marathon Asset Management.

“We’re pleased, we’re a very Trump-oriented fund,” Richards said. “Whether you were for him or not, putting that aside, the fund has done very well since he’s been elected.”

Others were happy to take a break.

“This is a refreshing moment to not talk about the political environment, and to talk about the incredible work that R Baby has done,” said Jeremy Kroll, CEO of K2 Intelligence.

R Baby works to improve the quality of emergency care for children and access to it, as well as educate parents and doctors. It was started by Phyllis and Andrew Rabinowitz (president of Marathon) after they lost their baby girl.

At R Baby Foundation’s 10th anniversary benefit

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

“If there was a vote in the hedge fund community, Andrew would be voted best guy,” Scaramucci, ever the campaigner, said. “He’s a soulful human being and he converted his family’s tragedy into a celebration of life.”

Rabinowitz, introducing Scaramucci as an honoree at the benefit, recollected an exchange at SkyBridge Capital’s Salt conference in May.

“Right before we go on stage, he grabs my tuchus,” Rabinowitz said.

“Not very firm,” Scaramucci interjected, standing on the side of the Plaza’s ballroom.

“That’s what he said, you need to do more squats,” Rabinowitz added.

The point of the story? After grabbing his tuchus, Scaramucci invited him to grab his -- revealing his zest for squats in workouts before sunrise.

“This man has the energy of a six-year-old boy,” Rabinowitz said of Scaramucci.

Scaramucci also has good investment ideas, Rabinowitz said, as when he suggested Rabinowitz invest in a restaurant that would “marry Frank Sinatra and Wall Street.” The result, the Hunt & Fish Club, drew Vice President-elect Mike Pence as a customer on Tuesday night.

On stage to accept his award, Scaramucci said we all need to focus on the protection of children, “because when you do that you create a wonderful society.”

Phyllis Rabinowitz said the foundation would soon be offering an app to help parents locate pediatric-ready emergency rooms. She said the foundation had partnered with doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital, and that the 99 cents it would cost would go back into improving the product. Guests also got a preview of a 30-second commercial for the app made by the Birds Nest Foundation, run by Avis Richards, wife of Bruce Richards and board member of the R Baby Foundation.

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