Former FBI director James Comey quipped Tuesday that he hasn’t spent much time thinking about the potential “policy questions” of Donald Trump’s reelection candidacy because he’s just “a fiction writer” now.
Interviewing on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” with host Nicole Wallace in promotion of his debut crime novel, “Central Park West,” which draws on his professional experience, Comey did still weigh in on the ramifications of the twice-impeached former president holding office again, saying that he is “a serious threat to the rule of law” and a “cult leader.”
“He represents a serious threat to the rule of law in this country, and anyone with eyes to see can see that,” Comey said. “For someone who promises to do things that are antithetical to a Constitution-based, rule-of-law society, I think he threatens that society. The stakes if he is the candidate will be extraordinarily high.”
Then, about five minutes into the interview, Comey humorously intimated that he’d prefer to move on from Trump as a topic to discuss his novel. When asked by Wallace if he has spent time delving into “the policy questions around a Trump candidacy at this moment,” he responded: “I haven’t. I mean, I’m a fiction writer — which we’re gonna talk about!”
“I know you are, a good one!” Wallace said.
“But I do think that Donald Trump is the leader of a cult who has radicalized his followers, and dealing with a radicalized populace is incredibly challenging,” Comey continued, “because it’s so hard for someone who’s been defrauded or radicalized to walk away.”
Comey added, “I get why so many of his followers want to memory-hole January the 6th because those images whisper to those people, ‘You fool, look what you did,’ and that’s too painful for most humans to deal with. So they memory-hole it and they go deeper into the cult. That’s a phenomenon we’ve seen in Islamic radicalism, that’s a phenomenon we’ve seen in religious radicalism. It’s an enormous challenge. The most important thing is that we as a free society use our votes to make sure that cult leader is not returned to a position where he can really do damage to our country.”
The launchpad for Comey and Wallace’s “Deadline” discussion was the sentencing of Jan. 6 rioter Pauline Bauer, who threatened to hang then speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. On Tuesday, Bauer was sentenced to serve 27 months in prison.
Watch Comey’s full interview with Wallace in the video above.