It has been widely reported that few in the White House who had advance knowledge of FBI Director Comey’s termination voiced concern about the blowback and consequences which lead to muddled messaging and poor communication. The ensuing communication plan was chaotic and ill-conceived with a Washington Post story about Press Secretary Sean Spicer hiding in the bushes with his colleagues outside the White House and refusing to answer questions on camera. One of the most problematic talking points emanating from the White House that evening and since then is a charge that Democrats are pretending to be aggrieved on Comey’s behalf now that the President fired him.
This “phony hypocrites” talking point is faulty for two reasons:
- Russia – Almost unanimously the reaction to Director Comey’s firing has been cast as a potential disruption to the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion by members of Trump’s team. Democratic lawmakers and critics were not coming to Comey’s defense on Monday night and throughout the day on Tuesday, they were expressing alarm that a President was firing the FBI Director as an FBI investigation into that President’s campaign was ramping up.
- Intimidation – James Comey is the third person to lose their job after their investigations of Donald Trump start to make headway. Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, US Attorney Preet Bharara, and now James Comey have been in roles where they have the ability and responsibility to investigate Donald Trump, his campaign, or his associates. All three have been fired by the President. Devin Nunes has also been in a role where he has been obligated to investigate the President. Widely seen as a lackey for the White House in his handling of the House Intelligence Committee investigation into Russia’s election meddling, Nunes kept his job by providing cover for the President.
Democrats are not being hypocritical when they question the President’s grounds and timing for terminating Director Comey. They are raising appropriate concerns about a president who terminates the head of a government division that is investigating him and his associates.
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