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A Tale of Two Narcissists

Brett Davis

Posted on September 4, 2019 05:25

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President Trump’s authentic over-the-top persona contrasts with James Comey’s phony self-righteousness.

President Donald J. Trump and former FBI Director James Comey – political enemies, to be sure – share at least one common trait: Both men think very highly of themselves, which is a diplomatic way of saying they are consummate egomaniacs.

Having been in the public eye for decades before being elected president of the United States, Trump’s brand of self-infatuation was established long before his uber-successful venture into presidential politics in 2015.

Trump’s reputation, then as now to a large degree, is that of a brash, self-aggrandizing salesman. That was true when he was primarily known as a billionaire Manhattan real estate developer whose name is his brand, and it’s still true now that he occupies the White House.

By comparison, Comey only recently came to public prominence, originally for overseeing the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s clandestine email server during the 2016 presidential campaign, and later for being fired by Trump in connection with the investigation into Russian interference in said election, including possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. Throughout both debacles, Comey portrayed himself as an exemplary by-the-book leader whose sterling character was beyond reproach.

And yet, Trump – warts and all – is enjoying an overall successful, if tumultuous, presidency so far. Why? In large part it’s because Trump is unabashedly, unapologetically and unashamedly who he is.

The Trump you see now as president of the United States – including the baggy suit, too-long tie, orange tan, strange coiffure, Queens accent, messy personal life and all the bragging about his wealth and success in business – is the same Trump who campaigned for the job.

Amateur officeholder Trump is considered novel in modern-day presidential politics for his unconventional tone and tenor, but in fact he’s something of a throwback to presidents like Andrew Jackson and Theodore Roosevelt – that is, bombastic, mercurial characters who were larger than life. 

Even now, it pays not to underestimate the appeal of uncouth authenticity in politics, a lesson the painfully inauthentic Hillary Clinton learned the hard way on a Tuesday night in November 2016.

Meanwhile, Comey has been reduced to tilting at windmills in the form of encouraging critics to apologize to him in light of a recent Justice Department inspector general report that found the former FBI head violated both federal law and bureau regulations. (Amazingly enough, this pathetic display may be a step up from his past habit of posting nature photographs on Twitter and Instagram with absurdly introspective captions.)

In other words, Comey’s portrayal of himself as a paragon of moral virtue – something Trump has never claimed for himself – came back to haunt him when it was revealed Comey broke the rules for his own nakedly partisan benefit.

What it all comes down to is this: Trump owns who he is. Comey, still a lumbering oaf of moral certitude and sanctimonious posturing, refuses to accept who he is.

Brett Davis

Posted on September 4, 2019 05:25

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Source: CBS 8

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