When Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday afternoon, he wasn’t just fragrantly undermining the principles of American democracy; he was doing the same for standards of conduct between bosses and their employees as well. Rather than calling Comey into his office for a friendly Friday afternoon chat and then having security hover awkwardly around the director as he cleaned out his desk, the president wrote a letter informing him of his termination. The news hit TV before Comey received official word, and he reportedly learned he was out from a broadcast that was playing in the room as he addressed a group of agents in Los Angeles.
The big question is why Trump fired Comey. The official suggestion is that it had something to do with Comey’s aggressive handling of the email scandal that derailed Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, which seems absurd on its face considering how much Trump benefitted specifically from the aggressiveness of that investigation. More likely is that the president wanted to halt the FBI’s ongoing investigation into his alleged ties to Russia, which is a Nixon-level attempted coverup of presidential wrongdoing if true.
A smaller but still tantalizing question is why Trump didn’t man up and axe Comey in person. Based on his decade at The Apprentice, you’d think there’d be no one in America who’d relish giving people the boot more than Don T, given his catchphrase of choice. But according to a source who spoke with BuzzFeed News White House correspondent Adrian Carrasquillo?, the president is a little uncomfortable with the idea of firing people himself.
Source who knows Trump well told me today he doesn't like firing people in person. https://t.co/mtBPI8CpBz
— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo) May 10, 2017
Imagine that: Donald “You’re Fired” Trump, too cowardly to do his own dirty work. Of course, what with the Russia investigation at all, Comey and the president have never exactly when bosom buddies. When the time finally comes for formerly trusted aide like Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, maybe they’ll at least get phone calls.