Last night, as part of his book tour, James Comey did a town hall-style event with Anderson Cooper on CNN. I didn’t watch it, but my husband did, so I heard bits and pieces as I was puttering around the kitchen. Comey rehashed the same rationales for interfering in the 2016 election that we’ve heard before. I didn’t buy it the first time, still don’t buy it now.
But the town hall veered off in an interesting direction when Cooper or someone in the audience asked Comey to share his impressions of Trump’s leadership style. Here’s CNN’s account of the exchange, with quotes:
Comey portrays Trump as someone who can never think about anything but himself, how he feels.
“His style of conversation was a series of assertions about great things he had done,” Comey said, describing one of his private meetings with Trump, in which he said the President made inappropriate demands for loyalty.
“The challenge I found was that they wash over you like a wave and even if you disagree, the waves keep coming.”
“But that is the style, it’s ‘I’m great, I’m great, I’m great,'” Comey said…
“I saw Presidents (George W.) Bush and (Barack) Obama both use humor effectively to relax, to put at ease, to try and get to the truth. I never saw President Trump laugh even in an almost hour-and-a-half hour long private dinner,” he said…
“His only reference point is internal — ‘what will bring me what I need, what will fill this hole in me — get me the affirmation I crave’ — that is deeply concerning…”
That certainly rings true — what Comey is describing is the behavior of a malignant narcissist. Actually, everything Comey says strikes me as the truth as he understands it — mendaciousness isn’t Comey’s sin; hubris is.
Anyhoo, this morning, Trump did a phone-in interview with the Fox & Friends crew. As John noted, Trump made news for blowing up the prior implausible excuse that he didn’t know Michael Cohen was representing him in the Stormy Daniels case.
But the interview was also noteworthy in that Trump came off as so unhinged that even the three dolts on the couch were talking to Trump in the soothing tones and with the calming hand gestures one might use if confined in a small space with a growling Rottweiler that had a mousetrap clamped to its nutsack.
And we know why: Trump told the sofa squatters he doesn’t watch CNN but admitted that he did watch the Comey town hall last night. That explains why he sounds so rattled and angry that even the sofa squatters squirmed — Comey completely nailed Trump, exposing the yawning chasm of insecurity and neediness at Trump’s core in front of the whole goddamned country. The clip below is a F&F-edited sample of Trump’s much longer rant:
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) April 26, 2018
Here’s a partial transcript for those who can’t or don’t want to watch — Trump’s rant below comes in response to Doocy’s softball — nay, T-ball — question about how Trump would grade his first year in office:
I’m fighting a battle against, uh, uh, a horrible group of deep-seated people, drain the swamp, that are coming up with all sorts of phony charges against me, and they’re not bringing up real charges against the other side. So, we have a phony deal going on, and it’s a cloud over my head. And I’ve been able to do, to really escape that cloud, because the message now, everyone knows, is a fix, okay, it’s a witch hunt. And they know that, and I’ve been able to message it. I would give myself an A+.
Nobody has done what I’ve been able to do, and I did it despite the fact that I had a phony cloud over my head. That doesn’t exist. [Blah blah blah Democrats Electoral College Deep State Crooked FBI McCabe wife campaign contributions McAuliffe blah blah blah]
Our Justice Department, which I try and stay away from but at some point I won’t. Our Justice Department, which should be looking at that kinda stuff, not the nonsense of collusion with Russia, there is no collusion with me and Russia, and everyone knows it.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to describe that last paragraph as delivered in an angry shout, to the acute discomfort of the sofa squatters. It’s worth watching, IMO — you don’t even have to look at Trump’s ugly mug since he’s on the phone, and the body language and facial expressions of the nitwits on the couch are something to behold.
I had mostly negative feelings about Comey’s book tour, but if it rattles Trump this badly, maybe it’s a good thing.