Former FBI Director James Comey has launched an all-out assault on the Trump administration in recent weeks as he prepares for the release of his new book. Among other damning criticisms, Comey accuses Trump of being “morally unfit” to be president.
Now, he’s taken his PR campaign to the next level by announcing that he is leaving the Republican Party, the political organization to which he has long belonged because he believes it has utterly surrendered to Trumpism.
In a new interview with ABC News podcast “Start Here,” Comey lamented what he sees as a major shift within the GOP that began during the 2016 election and continued after Trump was sworn into office.
After he was fired, Comey says he came to the realization that he needed to focus more on politics rather than just his traditional law enforcement duties because “These people [the Trump administration] don’t represent anything I believe in.”
“I just think they’ve lost their way and I can’t be associated with it,” said Comey.
He also addressed the fact that the RNC has launched a website with the express and sole purpose of discrediting him. “LyinComey.com” has convinced him once and for all that his former party has abandoned him.
“I see the Republican Party, as near as I can tell, reflects now entirely Donald Trump’s values. It doesn’t reflect values at all. It’s transactional, it’s ego-driven, it’s in service to his ego. And it’s, I think, consoling itself that we’re going to achieve important policy goals — a tax cut or something,” said Comey.
The former FBI Director, who didn’t vote in the 2016 election, said that he intends to vote against Trump’s 2020 opponent and that he “can’t imagine a circumstance” in which he would vote for the former reality television star.
While much of Comey’s criticism of the GOP is accurate, it’s also misleading if not downright delusional. The idea that the Republican Party went through some spontaneous mutation in 2016 that changed it from an honorable conservative movement into Trump’s pet party is as ahistorical as it is ludicrous.
The rot at the heart of the GOP has been growing for decades. Fueled by paranoia and hysteria actively cultivated by right-wing news networks like Fox, Republicans have slowly transformed a huge portion of their base into a mob of frothing ideologues. Politicians like Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) used the animus stirred up by the election of the first black president to push their party further right, handing the country gift-wrapped to special interests and lobbyists in the process.
So while Comey is correct that his former party is utterly debased and corrupt, he’s wrong to think it happened overnight. For a man who spent his whole life gathering evidence and knee-deep in expansive investigations, it sure took him a long time to read the writing on the wall.