by Joy Pullmann · April 13, 2018
Michael Wolff, move over. Early reports out about former FBI Director James Comey’s book indicate a penchant for purple prose and navel-gazing only rivaled by the “A Higher Loyalty” author’s emo Twitter posts. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the book a week early, and reports it contains gems like the following:
The 6-foot-8 Comey describes Trump as shorter than he expected with a ‘too long’ tie and ‘bright white half-moons’ under his eyes that he suggests came from tanning goggles. He also says he made a conscious effort to check the president’s hand size, saying it was ‘smaller than mine but did not seem unusually so.’
According to the AP, Comey’s book alleges this is how Trump repudiated opposition research allegations Trump had prostitutes urinate on a hotel bed the Obamas had used:
Trump said, ‘I’m a germaphobe. There’s no way I would let people pee on each other around me. No way.’
Comey writes that Trump raised the issue again, unprompted, during their one-on-one dinner at the White House and it bothered the president that there might be even ‘a one percent chance’ his wife might think it was true.
Comey then registers surprise, writing that he thought to himself ‘why his wife would think there was any chance, even a small one, that he had been with prostitutes urinating on each other in a Moscow hotel room.”
Hmm, I don’t know, maybe because the salacious (and later thoroughly discredited) story was all over every media outlet in the country?
“[Trump] strongly denied the allegations, asking — rhetorically, I assumed — whether he seemed like a guy who needed the service of prostitutes.”https://t.co/yFyZ6H7WWH
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) April 12, 2018
The Washington Post reports more hilariously overpsychologized book excerpts, like this one about Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “Sessions just cast his eyes down at the table, and they darted quickly back and forth, side to side. He said nothing. I read in his posture and face a message that he would not be able to help me.”
Is this “Twilight”? Weirdly backwards fan fiction?
Then there are the touching, borderline romantic moments between Comey and President Obama.
Comey defends his handling of the Clinton email investigation, and for the first time details a private assurance he received from Obama following Clinton’s defeat. Many Democrats blame Comey for announcing less than two weeks before the election that the FBI was examining a new trove of Clinton emails for possible classified material.
Comey writes that Obama sat alone with him in the Oval Office in late November and told him, ‘I picked you to be FBI director because of your integrity and your ability. I want you to know that nothing — nothing — has happened in the last year to change my view.’
On the verge of tears, Comey told Obama, “Boy, were those words I needed to hear. … I’m just trying to do the right thing.’
“I know,” Obama said. “I know.’
It’s the “On the verge of tears” that makes this. pic.twitter.com/Q23sWahaK6
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) April 12, 2018
Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch was also in on the apparent romance. Again from The Washington Post:
One day shortly before the election, Lynch and Comey met privately. Comey writes that the attorney general wrapped her arms around him and implied that she thought he had done the right thing.
But as their meeting ended, Comey writes, ‘She said, with just the slightest hint of a smile, ‘Try to look beat up.’ She had told somebody she was going to chew me out for what I had done. What a world.’
In addition to claiming bizarrely personal professional interactions like these, Comey apparently knows a little too much about male tanning procedures, and believes urban legends about sexual prowess. Perhaps his editors didn’t reduce his overwriting because they were laughing so hard they couldn’t help releasing Emo James Comey to the world to give us all joy in at least some portion of the ridiculous Russia narrative and 2016 election aftermath.
This is evidently not a parody:
!!! Comey also says he made a conscious effort to check the president’s hand size, saying it was “smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so.” https://t.co/8f6Mg32JVs’
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) April 12, 2018
The first time Comey met Trump was at the pre-inauguration intelligence briefing. Comey, who is 6 feet 8 inches tall, writes that the 6-foot-3 president-elect looked shorter than he did on television. ‘His face appeared slightly orange,’ Comey writes, ‘with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles, and impressively coifed, bright blond hair, which upon close inspection looked to be all his.’
‘As he extended his hand,’ Comey adds, ‘I made a mental note to check its size. It was smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so.’
Erm, exactly why are you concerned about the president’s “hand size,” Mr. Comey? It wouldn’t have anything to do with Trump’s “oral jigsaw puzzle?” Please, I can’t take any more of this kind of thing. Let’s all go back to the 1950s, I’m begging you. At least to its level of public discourse!
Comey also seems obsessed with Trump’s eyes, elsewhere describing “the soft white pouches under [Trump’s] expressionless blue eyes.”
Several of the quotes read more like accounts of Comey’s self-incriminating psychological projections onto President Trump, a trait that seems to encompass today’s rabid anti-Trumpists.
Comey describes “a president who built ‘a cocoon of alternative reality that he was busily wrapping around all of us’ … a congenital liar and unethical leader, devoid of human emotion and driven by personal ego.”
Interacting with Trump, Comey writes, gave him ‘flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the Mob. The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.’
AP on Comey’s book: it “also includes strikingly personal jabs at Trump that appear likely to irritate the president.”
Like: shorter-than-expected height; tie too long; might wear tanning goggles.https://t.co/ifWDmPNS2A
— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) April 12, 2018
While to some observers — I’m talking, of course, about myself, as most journalists do when they use that phrase — this all suggests a level of narcissism that should be nowhere near power, some commenters on the various news reports on Comey’s book feel otherwise. Here are a few.
It appears “A Higher Truth” this book points to is that memoirs should be banned for everyone without truly historic accomplishments. We don’t need any more breathless “304-page tell-alls” that mostly serve to boost the writer’s ego and distract reporters from what their real job should be: holding public officials and institutions accountable and illustrating truths about our world.
Although, their publication does provide opportunities for hilarity. Parodies of the book have begun making their way across social media.
The details in this Comey book are crazy. pic.twitter.com/kdzTsJgCZY
— jon gabriel (@exjon) April 13, 2018