James Comey looked straight into the camera in June 2017 as he uttered his first public denunciation of President Donald Trump. “Those were lies, plain and simple,” the former FBI director said, as millions of Americans watched his dramatic testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Comey still uses that word – “lies” – when he talks about Trump, most recently on Thursday in a CNN town hall where he called Trump a “chronic liar” who should not be in office.
His penchant for metaphors came through in a recent New York Times op-ed in which he described the president as an “amoral leader” who devours the souls of better men. And in a scathing interview with USA TODAY last year, he declared Trump “morally unfit to be president.”
Comey’s outrage has spilled onto the party to which he once belonged – he has urged Americans to vote for Democrats in 2020. He’s a quirky Twitter celebrity whose page is an amalgam of pensive nature photos, dad jokes and urgent calls for the public to remove the president who removed him.
The CNN forum, which coincided with the second anniversary of his firing by Trump, was only the latest instance in which he garnered the spotlight. Though the town hall format is usually reserved for presidential candidates, Comey dismissed the notion that he is considering a run for public office, saying he’d “never” do so.