We’re carried along on rough waters of Trump presidency | COMMENTARY

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Warren Buffet

James Comey, recently-fired FBI Director, gained his reputation for integrity when he was Assistant Attorney General during the George W. Bush administration.

On March 10, 2004, Comey’s boss, Attorney General John Ashcroft, lay gravely ill in intensive care in the hospital. Comey got an urgent call telling him that Bush’s Chief of Staff, Andrew Card Jr., and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales were on their way to the hospital to persuade Ashcroft to reauthorize a domestic surveillance program which the Justice Department had already decided was illegal.

Comey notified FBI Director Bob Mueller and then rushed to the hospital with lights blaring and siren whining to get there before Gonzales and Card.

He got there minutes before the two came in. They wanted the heavily-drugged Ashcroft to sign off on the reauthorization. They ignored Comey, who was standing by. To Comey’s surprise, Ashcroft rose to his elbows and refused to authorize the surveillance program. Ashcroft pointed at Comey and told the two that he, Comey, was the attorney general. Without a word to Comey, they turned and left.

Comey was angry over the impropriety of the Card and Gonzales actions and he, Director Mueller and his aides all wrote letters of resignation. Eventually, President Bush broke the impasse and ruled in favor of Comey. President Bush later made Gonzales Attorney General.

Eventually, during the Obama administration, Comey was appointed as FBI director. He retained that job until just recently when he was summarily fired by President Donald Trump for not backing off on investigating the Russian links to the Trump presidential campaign.

Of course, during the 2016 presidential campaign, Comey got deeply involved on two occasions. The first incident was in July when he spoke out about the Hillary Clinton server. He stated that Clinton, although acting extremely carelessly, had done nothing intentionally illegal.

The second time, he spoke out about Clinton emails on her aide’s computer, just 11 days before the general election vote. Clinton believes Comey’s statement stopped her winning momentum and lost her the election.

Why Comey decided to speak out when he did still remains a mystery. His recent comment about it during Congressional testimony was that the thought that he might have tipped the election left him “slightly nauseated.”

How are we to judge James Comey? Recent requests by President Trump to stop the Michael Flynn probe and then the Russia-Trump campaign investigation were ignored by Comey. His refusals got him fired, according to the president’s own statement. Were Comey’s words and actions during the 2016 election the five minutes that the Warren Buffet quote referred to that ruined 20 years of building a reputation of integrity? We may never know.

The current issue is not over Comey’s integrity and actions. It is with Trump’s reputation. No matter what the motivation and thinking of Comey during the election, he appears to have acted with integrity during his last few months in office by refusing to bend to Trump’s requests to stop the investigations.

Trump got elected because he created the persona of an iconoclast – a rule breaker. He has played that role to the fullest. He is just as unpredictable as he has ever been, to the horror of the leaders of his own party, as well as to his Democratic opponents, who see him as an immature and undisciplined narcissist.

Trump is not going to think about his actions or change them. It’s not who he is.

To his supporters, Trump can virtually walk on water. To the religious right that he recently spoke to at Pat Robertson’s Liberty University and to the police at the recent commemoration to fallen officers, he is the personification of all that is right and good.

Reputation matters, but Warren Buffet’s standards mentioned at the beginning of this column do not seem to fit Trump’s line of thinking. Time will tell if our president’s actions and words will bring him, and possibly the nation, to shame and grief, or whether his supporters’ views will prevail.

Bring a motion sickness bag with you as we all are carried along with him, willingly or unwillingly.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Editorial: Stopping COVID is now up to each of us

With a resurgence threatening, we need to take greater responsibility to keep the virus in check.

Armondo Pavone is the Mayor of Renton.
Renton needs a defined timetable for homeless shelter | Guest editorial

By Armondo Pavone and Ruth Pérez, Special to the Renton Reporter The… Continue reading

Back to the wild — a whole new outdoor recreation world | Guest editorial

When enjoying the great outdoors, continue to socially distance and be aware of how else COVID-19 has changed our world.

KCLS is stepping up its commitment to patrons

KCLS has expanding its online resources so patrons can continue to learn, build skills, stay entertained and remain mentally and physically active amid the pandemic.

Ardra Arwin.
‘Let’s not go out and play!’

A poem by Renton resident Ardra Arwin, age 8

How using a face mask to cover my Asian face could put me in danger

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Asians and Asian Americans have been targeted.

Opinion: Public deserves honest information on sex education

The Washington comprehensive sex education bill passed in the Senate on March 7.

Grocery store staff are working hard to keep the shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic. File photo
Thank you grocery store clerks

Recognizing the sacrifices of our unsung essential workforce.

Catch each other during this fall

How we can use the quarantine to reflect on necessary social changes

To our elected officials: Be bold, be consistent, be honest, be helpful

By Patrick Grubb, Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Governor Jay Inslee has been… Continue reading

Letters to the editor for the week of March 13

Reader worries about the county’s reach Dear editor, The article regarding King… Continue reading

As the deadline nears, state lawmakers face a few challenges

There are four major decisions lawmakers are tackling before the end of this legislative session.