James Comey spends a good deal of his new book A Higher Loyalty calling out President Donald Trump’s character. In the first interview of his book tour, Comey said Trump is “morally unfit to be president.”
So, CNN’s Jake Tapper, asked the former FBI director on Thursday: “Do you think the nation would be better off if Hillary Clinton had won?”
“I can’t answer that question,” Comey replied. “That hypothetical is too hard to go back in time to try to answer.”
“You paint a pretty dire picture of President Trump. It’s hard to imagine how you don’t think the nation is better off if Hillary Clinton had won,” Tapper said, seemingly confused by his guest’s refusal to answer the question.
“I don’t think about it in those terms, Jake,” Comey said. “We have the current president who in my view was legitimately elected, serving as president. The question is, is he adhering to our values? He’s clearly not. I think the first thing to do is not get numb to it.”
Pressing him again, Tapper said, “It’s interesting that you won’t go as far as to say that Hillary Clinton would be—that the nation would be better off if Hillary would be president—because you have called for the nation to respond to the challenge of Trump in your view by voting, presumably by voting against what he represents. Is that not a fair interpretation?”
“I think of it in terms of voting for something else, which is the core values of this country, which are more important than any policy dispute,” Comey said. So I don’t care whether people find in it a Republican or Democrat or neither. It’s important that the leaders reflect the values because that’s all we are.”
During another stop on his media tour this week, Comey told Stephen Colbert that, at least to some degree, he blames those who didn’t vote in the 2016 election for helping to elect Trump. This is despite the fact that as FBI director he chose not to vote for president so maintain some sort of neutrality. He confirmed that he does plan to vote in 2020.
Later in their interview, Tapper quoted a passage from Comey’s book in which he says his high school experience gave him a “lifelong hatred of bullies.” The anchor asked, “Do you think President Trump is a bully? And do you hate him?”
“I definitely don’t hate him,” Comey said. “There are things he does that make me uncomfortable and I think are inappropriate, that are in some ways bully-like behavior. But I don’t hate Donald Trump. I don’t even dislike Donald Trump.”