Colbert asked Comey his thoughts on Donald Trump’s recent comments about him on Twitter. In response, Comey said that he didn’t understand why the U.S president seems to be so focused on him.
“He’s tweeted at me probably 50 times. I’ve been gone for a year. I’m like a breakup he can’t get over. He wakes up in the morning … I’m out there living my best life … he wakes up in the morning and tweets at me,” Comey said.
Comey, who was fired in May 2017 by Trump amid the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, responded to a tweet by Trump earlier Tuesday in which the president called him a “slimeball” and said he should be jailed.
Comey also said that he usually just shakes off what Trump has to say about him on Twitter but he also noted that he is concerned by his own reaction to the U.S. president’s words.
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Comey said: “My first reaction to those kind of tweets is a shrug. Like, ‘There he goes again.’ But actually, then I caught myself, and I said, ‘Wait a minute, if I’m shrugging, are the rest of the country shrugging? And does that mean we’ve become numb to this?'”
He continued: “It’s not okay for the president of the United States to say a private citizen should be in jail. It’s not normal, it’s not acceptable, it’s not OK. But it’s happened so much, there’s a danger we’re now numb to it and the norm has been destroyed. And I feel that norm destroying in my own shrug. And so we can’t allow that to happen. We have to talk about it and call it out.”
Colbert defended Comey’s comments in the book about Trump’s physical appearance. Comey’s reference to Trump’s hands and the orange hue of his skin have drawn criticism. Colbert said that those remarks are a few paragraphs in a book that runs more than 200 pages.
Colbert said, Trump “looks like a microwave circus peanut that someone rubbed on a golden retriever.”
Colbert was curious if Comey thought Trump could turn his presidency around. Comey said, “I think it would be hard at this point. He doesn’t seem to have reference points in his life. … As far as I can tell, his reference point is entirely internal: ‘What will fill the hole in me and get me the affirmation I need?’”
Colbert closed his interview with Comey by asking the former FBI director how the United States should move forward in the future.
Comey said: “Although I see Donald Trump as a forest fire, (and that) he will do great damage to our norms, forest fires allow things to grow that couldn’t grow before. … And so I’m optimistic that this country’s values are strong enough … that we will thrive in the wake of this.”
Watch part of Comey’s interview on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ in the video above.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. on Global.