Last night, on live TV, George Stephanopoulos interviewed former FBI Director James Comey. And despite my personal boycott of most political news, I watched. Although my opinion of Comey has shifted several times, I generally like and trust both men and thought the interview might be interesting. Nothing struck me as particularly noteworthy until Comey commented on Trump’s fitness for office:
I don’t think he’s medically unfit to be president. I think he’s morally unfit to be president.
A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds. And that’s not a policy statement. Again, I don’t care what your views are on guns or immigration or taxes.
There’s something more important than that should unite all of us, and that is our president must embody respect and adhere to the values that are at the core of this country. The most important being truth. This president is not able to do that. He is morally unfit to be president.
The distinction between Trump’s medical (physical? emotional? psychological?) fitness and moral fitness is one I’d not made. I’d thought of it as a whole — a man psychologically unfit for his job, a malignant narcissist/sociopath, exhibiting all the undesirable behaviors that entails.
Comey put a finer point on it. No physical or medical excuses for Trump. Just the moral high ground. Truth above all. I was reminded of Michelle Obama’s assertion: “When they go low, we go high.” Trump always goes low.
If he’s morally unfit, Stephanopoulos continued, do you think Trump should be impeached?
As before, Comey’s answer was carefully considered:
I hope not.
Because I think impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office would let the American people off the hook and have something happen indirectly that I believe they’re duty bound to do directly.
People in this country need to stand up and go to the voting booth and vote their values. And so impeachment, in a way, would short circuit that.
Well, okay, I’d not thought of that way before. Not sure how I feel about it. Is he assuming that lots of people, having seen Pres. Trump in action, will regret having voted for him and will vote him out in 2020? I hope that’s the case, but what if it isn’t? What if we’ve gotten exactly what those voters wanted? What if a screwed up, grid-locked, extremely divided country is exactly what they wanted? I don’t particularly share Comey’s confidence that the voters will make things right.