Insecurity in the White House

Michael Katski, Editor-In -Chief

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On Tuesday May 9th, President Donald Trump suddenly fired then-director of the FBI, James Comey. Since that day, there has been nonstop coverage, including contradicting statements from the president and his staff on the reason for the firing.

There is no doubt that Comey was a controversial figure during his time as Director of the FBI, namely for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email scandal. In fact, Clinton publicly said that, if it were not for a letter Comey penned saying the FBI would be reopening the investigations into her emails, she probably would have become president. Additionally, six days before his firing, Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and told the committee that he made inaccurate statements regarding the scope of the emails that Clinton sent to Anthony Weiner. Still, many politicians on both sides of the aisle have spoken harshly of Trump’s firing of Comey, as have the American people, according to an AOL News poll in which more than half of those polled did not agree with the decision. All of this leads one to ask: Why has the firing of a controversial figure sparked so much disapproval?

For one, the White House cannot seem to offer much of a reason for the firing, cannot clarify why it happened, and cannot explain why it had to happen right now. At first, Trump staffers and Vice-President Mike Pence said that Trump made the decision based on a recommendation he received from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. However, Trump made statements to Lester Holt in an NBC interview that directly contradicted those statements. In the Holt interview, Trump said the firing was “set up a while ago,” and that he could have waited, “but what difference does it make?” The problem with this is that, when the president and his staff are not on the same page as to why decisions are made, or perhaps more importantly, in giving statements as to why decisions are made, it paints a chaotic executive office. It is hard to buy into a decision as a bystander when the people who make those decisions cannot get their story straight on why a decision was made.

Going back to President Trump asking, “What difference does it make?” about the timing of the firing, I say that it makes all the difference. The FBI, under Comey’s direction, had been in the middle of investigating ties between Trump and Russia. Firing Comey just as the investigation had begun to pick up pace is a move that provides a very real look into Trump’s insecurities. Comey, who was once seen as a middling director who couldn’t handle the Clinton investigation, has now become a martyr, putting what is right before protecting his job. Trump has solidified himself as a particularly Nixonesque figure with this recent action, though it must be noted that while Trump has all of the paranoia and insecurity of Nixon, he possesses none of the savvy and political adeptness of the former president.

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Insecurity in the White House