The perfectly calibrated insult is a rara avis nowadays – ass- and douche- compounds don’t really count – so when someone resurrects an elegant 16th-century epithet, attention must be paid.
So: Scaramucci will be fine working with Reince. Even if Reince continues to loathe the popinjay.— Felix Salmon (@felixsalmon) July 22, 2017
The reference is, of course, to the former hedge-fund manager (and former supporter of liberal causes like gun control) Anthony Scaramucci, who last week was appointed White House communications director despite, or because of, having no experience with media or communications other than having granted interviews to reporters. He’s known familiarly, if not always approvingly, as “the Mooch.” “Reince” is White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, formerly the chair of the Republican National Committee.
Anthony Scaramucci, July 21, 2017: “I love the president and I’m very, very loyal to the president.” In 2015 he called Trump a “hack” and a “bully.” Via Business Insider.
Popinjay is a wonderful old word and a memorable descriptor for the slick, effusive Scaramucci. For the last 500 years or so it’s meant “a vain, conceited, shallow, talkative person,” although its original definition was neutral and zoological.