A Despot’s Excuses for a Despot’s Act

The excuse President Trump offered for firing FBI Director James Comey is flimsy and laughable. We are asked to believe that Comey was fired because he didn’t treat Secretary Clinton fairly.

It’s tempting to laugh out loud.

This is the Donald Trump who led his supporters in chants of “Lock her up”? When Comey announced he was re-opening the investigation of Secretary Clinton just days before the election, Donald Trump said, “It took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had.”

Nah. Fails the Red Face Test. Just another lie from the Trump Administration.

The transparent falsity of the formal justification triggered the usual array of White House spokespersons offering alternative justifications. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, one such White House spokeswoman, said the President “and the rest of the FBI” had lost confidence in Comey. She said the White House had heard from “countless” members of the FBI to that effect. That trial balloon was promptly popped when Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on May 11 rejected assertions by the White House that FBI employees had lost faith in James Comey and that the bureau’s probe into Russian election meddling was one of its most minor concerns. According to CNN, McCabe said “I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard. I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity,”

Probably the most credible reason for Trump firing Comey is Comey’s refusal to swear “personal loyalty” to Trump. Apparently, at a sinner one week in to the Trump administration, the two met for dinner and Trump was dissatisfied with Comey’s answers. Comey, it seems, told the President his loyalty was to the justice system, not whoever might be President.

Comey was right, of course. His replacement will bear watching.

It paints an ugly picture, doesn’t it? A U.S. president who demands loyalty from the heads of independent agencies. Who surrounds himself with cronies and family members. It sounds like a tinpot dictator in some tiny country. Alas, it’s the leader of the free world, the President of the world’s oldest democracy. <Shudder> Our president.