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All summer, Anthony Scaramucci has attacked President Donald Trump and opposed his re-election, through either supporting a challenger in the Republican primaries or simply encouraging the President to step aside.Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press

On Friday afternoon, when the disgraced former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci brought his Absolution Tour 2019 to Canada as the marquee lunchtime guest of the paying elites at an annual gathering known as the Toronto Global Forum, it was difficult to not think of the late Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

“Wisdom comes to us when it can no longer do any good,” the Nobel Prize-winner wrote in his novel of longing, Love in the Time of Cholera. Is it too late for us all, where Scaramucci’s hard-won wisdom is concerned?

Over the summer, the one-time senior Trump aide who set a land speed record for shortest time spent as a presidential mouthpiece – six or 11 days, depending on your metric – announced that he had realized his former boss was no longer mentally fit to occupy the Oval Office. Since then, Mr. Scaramucci has ramped up the rhetoric in hopes of dislodging Mr. Trump, through either supporting a challenger in the Republican primaries or simply encouraging the President to step aside.

Evidently, he showed up in Toronto packing military-grade rhetorical flame-throwers, and the nice officers from Canada Border Services Agency waved him on through.

“I think the President is in severe mental decline,” Mr. Scaramucci told Dimitri Soudas, the former communications director for Stephen Harper who was his lunchtime interlocutor at the Royal York Hotel. “And I’m not saying that now because I’m a political adversary, or I’ve disavowed him. I’m saying that objectively, looking at what’s going on.

“You have the leader of the free world creating rancor and dissension, and a licence to hate inside the great American experiment,” he continued. “The country’s first name is ‘United.’ You have a dis-unifying leader destroying the social fabric of the country. That is a metastatic cancer. You may not survive that.”

What, you might fairly wonder at this point, took Mr. Scaramucci so long to notice the ugliness that millions of others saw years ago?

“I accept the fact that it dawned on me late,” he acknowledged during a polite post-appearance scrum with a handful of Canadian reporters, who seemed almost embarrassed by the unlikely earnestness of the man known as The Mooch.

“I think you can tell I’ve been humbled by that. I’ve admitted my mistake.” Now, he said, it’s important that he and others work together to give disenchanted Trump supporters “an off-ramp,” that will allow them to save face and vote for someone else in whom they can believe.

That is why, he said, he is “in intensive discussions right now with several people” who are considering becoming Republican primary challengers. But time is running out.

“If they don’t make that decision in the next three to six weeks, it’s going to be likely Donald J. Trump [as the Republican candidate], unless the mental decline accelerates on a faster downward slope – at which point somebody like Senator [Mitch] McConnell is going to have to say, ‘Hold on a second,’” and orchestrate a removal of Mr. Trump from office.

“He will be out of the race by March. That is my prediction."

Why, Mr. Soudas asked, did he sign up to work for Trump in the first place?

“It’s a very good question,” Mr. Scaramucci began, striking a note of self-reflection. “I would just caution everybody in the room. We have a tendency to think very highly of ourselves. And sometimes we look at others with great righteousness and great sanctimony. But what I would remind everybody in this room is that we’re all coming from a product of our own environment, our own ideation of self.”

He was the kid of a blue-collar family “who’s lived a large part of the American Dream. The American president-elect has asked you to go work for him. I don’t know. If you can turn that down, God bless you. I couldn’t.”

So now, he is working to repair the damage he has done. But he has an escape hatch in mind. Decades ago, he spent four months in Canada when his firm, Goldman Sachs, was serving Cadillac Fairview.

“I’m in love with Canada,” Mr. Scaramucci told the crowd. “I’m not just saying that because I’m here. I also watch The Handmaid’s Tale” – the television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian bestseller, in which people escape through a modern Underground Railroad to Canada from the United States, which has become a fascist theocracy called Gilead.

"So, I know I have a home up here if I need one. You never know what’s going to happen.”

The line, full of flattery and self-deprecation, got a laugh. The Mooch knows how to read an audience.

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