Drama Queen Comey meets King Kong Trump

June 11, 2017

The Washington D.C. cage match between former FBI Director James Comey and one President Donald J. Trump was held Thursday via a public hearing of the Intelligence Committee of the United States Senate.  Granted, the President himself was not physically in the room, but he was there nonetheless as his words and actions were front and center.

Yet by the time committee chair Sen. Richard Burr brought the gavel down almost three hours later, nothing had really changed.

Yes, there were a few new tidbits to chew on. Comey had indeed told President Trump that he was not personally a target of an FBI investigation; Trump did indeed express to Mr. Comey his “hope” that he could find a way to “let go” any further action regarding his recently fired National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and that, surprise, surprise, Mr. Comey thought Mr. Trump a “liar”.

Comey’s testimony did nothing to stop the nation’s political feud but it did provide additional context.

We now know that it was Comey himself who gave his memos to his Columbia professor friend Daniel Richman to leak to the New York Times.

We know that Attorney General Loretta Lynch told him to refer to the Hillary Clinton email investigation as a “matter” but somehow that never came out until now when it’s too late.

We know that while the public has copious notes of Mr. Comey’s conversations with Mr. Trump said public still is in the dark as to why we have none from the FBI’s interview with Hillary Clinton for far worse offenses.

And we know that for some reason Mr. Comey was more than eager to see a special prosecutor appointed to investigate Russia but kept conveniently silent on appointing one to investigate Loretta Lynch’s and Hillary Clinton’s transgressions.

So what did we really learn?  We learned that privately Mr. Comey is the essence of the Washington, D.C. political animal he portends to despise in public.

One minute he’s investigating President Clinton’s tainted pardon of Marc Rich, the next he’s off to Washington for the title of deputy attorney general. Then he’s racing up hospital stairs to save America from NSA wiretapping during the Bush administration to landing in the FBI Director’s chair under Obama.  You don’t do that by taking sides, you do that by playing the game.

For over 20 years, Mr. Comey made quite a successful career for himself playing both sides against the middle. Until now, where ironically, it is Comey himself in the middle of it all.

And while a rabid media has certainly played a role, the truth is that there is really only one person to blame: King Kong Trump himself. His refusal to stay on message, his insistence to insult personally has done nothing for friends and everything for his enemies.

Granted, going from King of his own empire to a sideshow freak among the D.C. establishment is certainly not easy and it is understandable that Mr. Trump would bump around a bit in his new environs.  But his insistence to pick petty short term fights at the expense of long term goals has left him alone atop the Empire State Building, blindly swatting away as leak, after leak, after leak finds its mark.

The damage is so great that almost six months in to this administration we have no infrastructure bill, no Obamacare repeal, no tax reform, and hundreds of desperately needed staff positions still unfilled.  Yes, much has been done on the executive side, but so much more is possible.

So for the sake of the nation Mr. President, I offer you this simple solution:  Shut thy mouth and shackle thy thumbs.

Whatever personal jolt you get from off message interviews and unfettered twitter is infinitesimal compared to the unbridled chaos that follows.

Millions of Americans voted for you, believe in your policies and want your presidency to succeed. But that can’t happen until the 5am 140 character assaults on reason cease and desist.

This is your fork in the road Mr. President. You can accept the office of the President of the United States, pay it the respect it deserves and still have a successful presidency – or – you can continue your path of self-destruction and spend the rest of your days blaming others.

The choice is yours and yours alone.  For the sake of the nation, please choose wisely.

PUBLISHER NOTE:  A version of this column first appeared in the June 11, 2017 print edition of the Joplin Globe

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