Trump is a “Chronic Liar” Who Doesn’t “Embody American Values” Says James Comey

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Jun 25, 2019
by Louise Hallman
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Trump is a “Chronic Liar” Who Doesn’t “Embody American Values” Says James Comey

Former Director of the FBI calls out US president for his lies and fears young Americans will emulate him

James Comey, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, called US President Donald J. Trump a “chronic liar” who does not “embody American values” in an interview with Austrian journalists.

Speaking to journalists from Der Standard, the Salzburger Nachrichten, the Wiener Zeitung and the Suddeutsche Zeitung while at Salzburg Global Seminar’s annual June Board Weekend, Comey said:

“It’s bad for our country if the rest of the world thinks you’re led by a leader who’s a chronic liar,” adding that the 45th president has “fundamentally changed” the executive office. 

Comey worked under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who promoted him to head the FBI in 2013, before he was controversially dismissed from his post by Donald J. Trump in May 2017. Comey praised the 43rd and 44th US presidents, saying they “both did something that leaders have to do: listen well.” In contrast, he called the current president “the worst listener as a leader I’ve ever seen” adding that he does not “embody American values.”

Flipside

“The flip side of this,” Comey added, “is American parents of the last two and a half years have had more conversations at dinner with their children about truth than ever before…

“People copy their leaders. So children watch the president of United States see moral equivalence in Charlottesville, treat and speak about women like they’re pieces of meat, and lie constantly. There’s a danger that will shape these young people. And what’s good about America is most people are responding by saying to their kids: ‘You see what you just saw on television? No, no, no! That’s not the way you were raised to act. You will treat women with respect. You will understand that racial prejudice is a real thing in the United States and has to be addressed. And you will tell the truth.’

“In a way I’m sure he never anticipated, Donald Trump has been a spur in some ways to our culture. I wouldn’t argue that we needed him. But, there is good that is coming from the way Donald Trump has acted.”

Having published the book A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership in 2018, Comey now plans to spend his time until 2020 elections teaching and speaking about ethical leadership, especially with younger Americans.

Salzburg Lecture

As part of this personal mission to speak out against unethical leadership, Comey was in Salzburg to deliver the third Salzburg Lecture at Salzburg Global Seminar’s annual June Board of Directors Weekend

Following this year’s theme of “Living Dangerously: How Can We Get Real About Risk?”, the former FBI director spoke on “Judgment Calls: Risks, Rules and Leadership,” calling on leaders to “get help, lift your eyes, and remember your grandchildren” when taking tough decisions. 

“I want to be able to tell [my grandchildren] that when we were led by an unethical President I lent my voice.”

Asked about his own political ambitions and a possible run for office, Comey emphatically replied: “That’s an easy no.”