As soon as the Republican National Committee launched its new website, LyinComey.com, former FBI director James Comey knew he had to leave the party.
Comey has been a registered Republican for most of his adult life. But with President Donald Trump in office, he no longer identifies as one, he told ABC. The former FBI director said he believes the 2016 election, and Trump’s subsequent ascension to the White House, has transformed the party he once knew and loved into a stranger.
“The Republican Party has left me and many others,” Comey said on the ABC podcast "Start Here," a media stop on his "A Higher Loyalty" book tour. “I need no better evidence than their new website, which I think is “Lyin’ Comey,” maybe, attacking me. I just think they've lost their way, and I can't be associated with it."
In Comey’s mind, the current version of the Republican Party revolves around Trump’s ego and has entered into a transactional relationship with him: Republicans vy to make the president feel good in exchange for him signing into law some Republican policies.
"I see the Republican Party, as near as I can tell, reflects now entirely Donald Trump's values," Comey said. "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."
Trump and Comey's public fight touches on a number of the president’s irritations, like Hillary Clinton’s email scandal and the Russia investigation. But tensions escalated this week with the publication of Comey’s book, in which he gives a no-holds-barred look at his time working with the president. Needless to say, Comey does not paint a flattering picture of Trump.
Asked what Republicans he does still respect, however, Comey named Mitt Romney, whom Comey described as a “person of principle and honor.” (Romney, too, has feuded publicly with Trump, though they appear to have kissed and made up.)
Cover image: Former FBI director James Comey arrives for an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" at the Ed Sullivan Theater on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)