Benjamin Wittes, the editor-in-chief of Lawfare, recounted in a post a conversation he had with former FBI Director James Comey, who was especially incensed after one particular interaction with the President: when Trump hugged him.
Comey was invited to the Oval Office for a meeting after Trump’s inauguration. Going into the meeting, Wittes explained that Comey was especially uncomfortable because “the FBI director should be always at arm’s length from the President, in his view. There was an additional sensitivity here too, because many Democrats blamed Comey for Trump’s election, so he didn’t want any shows of closeness between the two that might reinforce a perception that he had put a thumb on the scale in Trump’s favor.”
While Comey did not want to reject outright Trump’s invitation to the White House, he did intend to keep a low profile. Wittes explained:
“He was wearing a blue blazer and noticed that the drapes were blue. So he stood in the back, right in front of the drapes, hoping Trump wouldn’t notice him camouflaged against the wall. But when you’re six foot, eight inches tall, it’s hard to blend in forever, and Trump ultimately singled him out — and did so with the most damning faint praise possible: ‘Oh, and there’s Jim. He’s become more famous than me!’ Comey took the long walk across the room determined, he told me, that there was not going to be a hug. Bad enough that he was there; bad enough that there would be a handshake; he emphatically did not want any show of warmth.”
Of course, when Comey offered Trump his hand, the President instead hugged him.
“Comey was disgusted,” Wittes explained. “He regarded the episode as a physical attempt to show closeness and warmth in a fashion calculated to compromise him before Democrats who already mistrusted him.”
Trump’s less-than-subtle attempts to curry favor with the FBI Director – in effect, to obstruct justice – came as a slap in the face not only to the James Comey but the greater American public. As he continues to further incriminate himself with each passing day, Trump’s impeachment now seems all but imminent.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.