Former FBI Director James Comey tried to use White House curtains that matched his suit to “blend in,” attempting to avoid President Donald Trump during an inauguration event.
The anecdote comes from Benjamin Wittes, a fellow at the Brookings Institute, who relayed a story to The New York Times that Comey told him about trying to dodge Trump at a press event after the inauguration. Comey was allegedly wary of encounters with Trump, fearing that press photos of them appearing friendly could damage the Bureau’s reputation as an impartial body, reports the Washington Examiner.
At a ceremony honoring law enforcement officials in charge of inauguration security in the White House Blue Room, Comey unsuccessfully tried using the room’s curtains, which resembled his suit, to hide from the president.
“He tried hard to blend into the background and avoid any one-on-one interaction,” Wittes said in a Lawfare article Thursday. “He was wearing a blue blazer and noticed that the drapes were blue. So he stood in the back, right in front of the drapes, hoping Trump wouldn’t notice him camouflaged against the wall.”
The former Bureau director allegedly did not want to attend the ceremony, but felt he could not turn down Trump’s invitation. Comey told Wittes that the president tried on at least two occasions to “compromise him or implicate him with either shows of closeness or actual chumminess with the President.”
Wittes said Comey believes that the president and FBI director should always keep a healthy distance between each other. (RELATED: Allen: The Trump ‘Normal’ Is Giving DC Insiders ‘Trumpression’)
“The meeting was nearly over, he said, and he really thought he was going to get away without an individual interaction,” Wittes says. “But when you’re six foot, eight inches tall, it’s hard to blend in forever, and Trump ultimately singled him out — and did so with the most damning faint praise possible: ‘Oh, and there’s Jim. He’s become more famous than me!'”
Comey walked across the room after the president spotted him but curbed Trump’s efforts to bring him in for a hug.
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