Because the president of the United States doesn’t understand how government works, he kept trying to make James Comey his friend when Comey was FBI director. Donald Trump didn’t seem to understand that while the person who heads the FBI serves the president, he isn’t the president’s servant.
Now news has emerged that the former FBI director reportedly hid “among the tall, blue curtains adorning a White House meeting room in an attempt to hide from President Trump at an Inauguration Day event,” the Washington Examiner reports.
Comey reportedly told his friend Benjamin Wittes that Trump continually tried to give the impression that Comey was on his side, Wittes wrote at Lawfareblog.com.
Comey described really not wanting to go to that meeting, for the same reason he later did not want to go to the private dinner with Trump: the FBI director should be always at arm’s length from the President, in his view. There was an additional sensitivity here too, because many Democrats blamed Comey for Trump’s election, so he didn’t want any shows of closeness between the two that might reinforce a perception that he had put a thumb on the scale in Trump’s favor. But he also felt that he could not refuse a presidential invitation, particularly not one that went to a broad array of law enforcement leadership. So he went.
But as he told me the story, he tried hard to blend into the background and avoid any one-on-one interaction. He was wearing a blue blazer and noticed that the drapes were blue. So he stood in the back, right in front of the drapes, hoping Trump wouldn’t notice him camouflaged against the wall. If you look at the video, Comey is standing about as far from Trump as it is physically possible to be in that room.
The column notes that when Trump did notice the FBI director, he called him over for what Comey hoped would be only a handshake:
Comey took the long walk across the room determined, he told me, that there was not going to be a hug. Bad enough that he was there; bad enough that there would be a handshake; he emphatically did not want any show of warmth.
Again, look at the video, and you’ll see Comey preemptively reaching out to shake hands. Trump grabs his hand and attempts an embrace. The embrace, however, is entirely one sided.
Comey was disgusted. He regarded the episode as a physical attempt to show closeness and warmth in a fashion calculated to compromise him before Democrats who already mistrusted him.
The saga continues ...