James Comey clearly believes himself to be a much better person than President Trump -- but as he descends into the mudslinging fray with a practiced mudslinger, people are starting to notice the former FBI Director's shrinking moral stature. On NBC's Today, host Savannah Guthrie confronted Comey about climbing into the "gutter" in his new book, pressing the longtime law enforcement figure on his snide descriptions of the president's physical appearance, including commentary on Trump's spray tan, hair, and -- ahem -- hand size. Guthrie asks, don't you think you've "diminished yourself?" Here's the exchange:
COMEY: No. I didn’t think of them as shots…
JC: …and I still don’t. SG: Really? JC: You’ve read the book. You see the description I give of my high school boss in the grocery store. I’m trying to be an author, something I’ve never been before and bring the reader into that scene and describe in great detail what I’m seeing. And so I’m not trying to pick on President Trump or my boss from high school.
SG: But you’re talking about his hair? Some people are saying, “Wait a minute. James Comey, you just got in the gutter with President Trump, who is known for his name-calling.” He’s called you a slime ball and a nut job and any numbers of things. Did you stoop?
JC: I really don’t think so. Again, maybe I’m missing it but I think I’m describing what his hair looked like. In my head, the editor’s voice kept bouncing around saying, ‘Take the reader with you, take the reader with you. What did you see? What were your impressions.
SG: You don’t think you’ve diminished yourself?
JC: I hope not.
The RNC is circulating additional unflattering mainstream media commentary on Comey's tone and substance while promoting A Higher Loyalty, including these observations from the New York Times:
Comey has always held himself out as a principled lawman, ready to martyr himself for justice. With his book tour, he’s looking less the disinterested referee & more a combatant in a partisan battle, w @jmartNYT https://t.co/5vzjYQWq53— Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) April 17, 2018
For decades, James B. Comey cultivated an image of purity as a lawman who stood above politics and politicians. Then came the book tour. With the release of his memoir this week and a set of high-profile media interviews to publicize it, Mr. Comey — whose firing by President Trump made him a hero to the president’s critics — has veered onto risky terrain, shedding the trappings of a high-minded referee and looking instead like a combatant in the country’s partisan battles...The personal potshots in particular have surprised some former colleagues who thought of Mr. Comey as relatively sober and serious. Observers on both the left and right — including many who count themselves as fierce critics of Mr. Trump’s — say that in embarking on his star turn, Mr. Comey may be undercutting his own indictment of the president’s character and conduct.
Yup. As I've said previously, I think Comey made some significant mistakes, but still the circumstances around his firing still didn't sit well with me. I also thought the RNC's decision to go nuclear on Comey ahead of his book tour was unseemly. But Comey seems to be doing his best to vindicate the GOP's approach, acting like a gossipy left-wing snarkmonger, aiming to feed books to as many hungry resisters as he possibly can. It's not a good look. Allahpundit reviews Comey's sundry denials and "clarifications" about the "true" purpose of his personal barbs about Trump and deadpans, "the tragedy of James Comey, apparently, is having his virtuous intentions misunderstood constantly. By everyone." In case anyone's interested, I'll leave you with this: