President Donald Trump seems to be doing James Comey’s media and advertising strategy for him. The commander in chief woke up Sunday morning with a lot of feelings about his former FBI chief’s book that is set to be released on Tuesday and was sure to express them all in what has become a signature of his presidency: the unhinged Sunday morning Twitter rant.
The president started off his rant by repeating what has become a favorite White House talking point, noting that Comey reopened the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton because she led the polls. “In other words, he was making decisions based on the fact that he thought she was going to win, and he wanted a job,” Trump wrote. “Slimeball!”
With the tweet it seems Trump either didn’t read past the headline or is simply buying into the talking point because that’s not exactly what Comey’s book says. In his book, Comey says he may have unconsciously feared making Clinton an “illegitimate president.” Politico has previously pointed out the inconsistency and published the excerpt in question demonstrating that the White House interpretation is, at best, misleading:
I had assumed from media polling that Hillary Clinton was going to win. I have asked myself many times since if I was influenced by that assumption. I don’t know. Certainly not consciously but I would be a fool to say it couldn’t have had an impact on me. It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in the polls. But I don’t know.
Trump didn’t stop there and went on to send several more tweets directly attacking Comey and even suggesting the former FBI chief should be jailed. First, he attacked the “badly reviewed book” for failing to answer key questions “like, how come he gave up Classified Information (jail), why did he lie to Congress (jail), why did the DNC refuse to give Server to the FBI (why didn’t they TAKE it), why the phony memos, McCabe’s $700,000 & more?” The commander in chief then returned to one of his favorite campaign talking points, the 2016 tarmac meeting between Bill Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
At that point Trump got distracted by a tweet about Syria to criticize the media’s coverage of the airstrikes before quickly returning to Comey, insisting he never asked the former FBI chief for “Personal Loyalty.” “Just another of his many lies,” Trump wrote. To end the blitz, Trump went on to write that Comey “will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!”