Morning after appearing on Stephen Colbert’s late-night show, former FBI Director James Comey did a full-court book-tour press, appearing on NBC’s Today and ABC’s The View, where he now says he wished he’d left out the paragraph about President Donald Trump’s physical appearance.
“If I had to do it over again, I would not put that paragraph in, because it gave people a hand hold….to attack the book,” Comey told the Ladies of The View of the one paragraph in which he talked about meeting Trump and observing his orange hue, his carefully coiffed hair, and making note of size when they shook hands.
This after Sara Haines asked him if that paragraph was worth it, given the attacks on his credibility that have followed. “Optically it’s a Trump game to talk about those things,” she said.
After he acknowledged the graph might better have been left out, Joy Behar jumped in to note, comfortingly: “You know there’s always the paperback.”
Earlier today, Today show’s Savannah Guthrie chided Comey for getting “into the gutter with President Trump.”
Take a moment to re-read that sentence.
“Did you enjoy taking those shots,” Guthrie asked the man who the President of the United States called a “slime ball” as his book tour was getting under way, of the fact Comey’s book includes reference to Trump’s tanning-bed hue, and an acknowledgement he had checked the size of the hand Trump has boasted about so much, when the two men shook hands.
‘You don’t think you diminshed yourself?” Guthrie said, looking-through-her-lorgnette-ily.
He did not.
Taking the conversation to a higher ground, Guthrie wondered if the book makes it tougher for Comey to be a “star witness” in any investigation of possible obstruction of justice on Trump’s part, given that it demonstrates “you do have a bias against the president.”
Responded Comey, “He fired me,” adding his testimony “has been locked in since I testified under oath” and since he wrote those memos immediately after meetings with Trump.
Watching Comey on his book-promoting tour has been to watch him gradually come around to the idea that those six sentences describing Trump might better have been left out.
In one of his first two interviews with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, the ex-FBI director insisted he was not trying to mock Trump, but be an author, and had in mind when he typed it his editor’s advice about drawing viewers into a scene with detail.
On Stephen Colbert’s show Tuesday night, Comey continued to defend the paragraph, noting he also described in the book how skinny President Obama was, and describe John Ashcroft’s skin color when he was in intensive care, insisting, “I’m not trying to make fun of Ashrcroft, or Obama or even Donald Trump. To Colbert’s audience, Comey introduced the “hand hold” motif, speculating critics who have glommed on to his paragraph about Trump’s physical appearance likely “haven’t read the book and are looking to criticize the book and me. So they’re looking for a hand hold, and it’s an easy hand hold.”
Hours later, Comey threw in the towel.