Both Trump and his countless media lickspittles are convinced that they had a totally winning argument to apologize for the firing of Comey: liberals are HYPOCRITES because they have been critical of Comey for exactly the same reasons Trump used as a comically transparent pretext for firing him. The obvious problem is that “Comey’s election tampering was a fireable offense but firing him to stop investigations is bad” is…a perfectly consistent position.
For an actual example of hypocrisy, let’s turn to Mr. Hugh Hewitt, who is apparently destined for MSNBC if the Times op-ed page doesn’t poach him first. Here’s Hugh in July offering effusivce praise for Comey’s first major act of election tampering. Here’s Hugh now:
Last summer an old D.C. hand took me to one of those Beltway places of lore for lunch and a cigar and talked candidly about how shocked he was at then-FBI Director James B. Comey’s decision to publicly discuss the Hillary Clinton email investigation and to walk the public through a hundred details of the case and then conclude she should not be prosecuted. Agree or disagree with that decision, he said, it’s not what the FBI does. Ever. Agents present facts to prosecutors. They may nudge or even push in one direction or the other, but they don’t decide. My interlocutor, a former assistant U.S. attorney and then- senior official in numerous positions and companies, was not so much outraged by Comey’s actions at the time as puzzled, perhaps even shocked.
Apparently, new Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein shared exactly that view and expressed it succinctly in his three-page memo to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Confidence in the FBI would not come back until a new director was in place, and that, of course, required that Comey be fired. Not a decision to be taken lightly, Rosenstein argued, but one he recommended that Sessions make. Sessions reviewed the recommendation, concurred and forwarded a joint recommendation to the president, who agreed.
Throwing in the abject lies about the timeline and who was driving the decision to fire Comey is a nice touch. You can see why America’s Liberal Network Expect Joe and Mika (TM) are so interested!
Both examples via Chait, who observes that Trump’s hack defenders are better off keeping it simple:
Hewitt likewise ignores his own position. In the immediate wake of Comey’s statement about Clinton last July, Hewitt praised the FBI director as a paragon of virtue, a man “widely admired by everyone in [sic] both sides of the aisle,” and whose condemnation of Clinton was “absolutely damning” of her. Now Hewitt believes that very statement by this widely admired official has suddenly, ten months later, become an open-and-shut retroactive firing offense.
The most effective Trump defenses are the simplest ones. Senator Chuck Grassley, asked on Fox News about the Watergate-esque character of the Comey firing, replied, in toto, “Suck it up and move on.” Now that is a defense that can’t be cracked. It contains no complex chain of reasoning, no reliance on positions by Trump or others that are subject to change, no vulnerability to news developments that could render it moot. Conservatives who wish to remain lashed to the Trump presidency should take heed of Grassley’s example. Attempts to use complex reasoning will backfire. “Suck it up and move on” is the moral philosophy of the Trump era.