Comer: Maybe Trump was just joshing with Comey


AFT Local 1360

Freshman Republican Congressman James Comer, who represents my neck of the Kentucky woods, says the president was just joshing when he asked then FBI Director James Comey to put the kibosh on that FBI investigation into Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s ex-national security adviser.

The Huffington Post’s Igor Bobic posted a tweet from Dave Weigel, the Washington Post scribe, who wrote that “Rep. James Comer, a member of the Oversight Committee, says Trump may well have been joking to Comey. ‘It looks different on paper.’"

According to Bobic, the tea party-tilting Comer isn’t the only My-President-Right-Or-Wrong Republican who suggests Trump was pulling Comey’s leg. 

“Some Republicans ― including an unnamed White House official ― maintained on Wednesday that Trump was merely joking when he told Comey to lay off of Flynn, who was fired earlier this year over his conversations with Russian officials before the president’s inauguration,” he wrote.

The president also sacked Comey, evidently to halt an FBI probe into alleged Russian attempts to tilt the election Trumpward, possibly in cahoots with Team Trump.

I might believe Comer when hogs fly and kids stop shooting hoops in Kentucky—nah, not even then.

Leslie McColgin, another of Comer’s constituents, also isn’t buying what Comer is selling. “A lot of people are noticing how nonsensical this excuse is,” said the longtime Democratic activist who heads Four Rivers Indivisible, a local branch of the national organization. “You don't tell the AG twice to leave the room along with the VP because you're planning to joke around.”

Full disclosure time: McColgin didn’t vote for Trump or Comer and neither did I, though they piled up landslide wins in the district, which sprawls over parts of western and south-central Kentucky.

Anyway, no sooner did Bobic’s story pop up than McColgin, who lives in my county, got busy making a bright blue meme featuring Weigel’s tweet about “Our 100% Trump Representative for KY 01.” 

McColgin’s message doesn’t pull punches: “Rep. Comer, this is not a joking matter. Please put your country before your party. We didn’t hire you to make excuses, you’re there to protect our country. Special Prosecutor/Independent Commission now!!!!”   

Admittedly, many a truth has been spoken in jest. "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," Trump famously bragged on the campaign trail. 

It was hyperbole, of course. But the wisecrack also applies to pols like Comer, who has voted the Trump position on legislation 100 percent of the time, according to the FiveThirtyEight website, “Tracking Congress In The Age of Trump.” He’s not alone. Four of Kentucky’s five other GOP House members have the same score. The other won notches 79.3.

I don’t know if any of them agree that Trump wasn’t serious when he called on Comey to cool it with Flynn.  But Comer’s claim that the president was kidding reminds me of a famous observation attributed to a Republican president this most devout of Democrats would have happily voted for: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Abraham Lincoln said that. Of course, the GOP of Trump and Comer looks more like the party of Jeff Davis and the Confederacy than the party of “Lincoln and Liberty.”