Whatever you might think about our illustrious 45th president or former FBI director James Comey, I think we can all agree that The Donald took the coward’s way out last week.
Rather than firing him in person, or even calling him on the phone, 45 gave him the bad news in a letter delivered to his vacant office while Mr. Comey was traveling on official business 3,000 miles away. Comey found out about his termination by reading it on a TV monitor while giving a speech.
Anyone can tell you how weak and cowardly that sort of move is. I can tell you how it feels, because I’ve had a similar experience.
In 2005, I was working for the City of Portland’s Office of Transportation, one of four direct reports to the Finance Director. (He may have had a slightly different title than that. I’m not sure.) One of my job assignments at the time was to write the budget narratives for our budget decision packages. It was a tough year, with lots of cuts coming, and most managers struggled to get their decisions made on time so I could write up the narrative before the deadline.
All but one, that is.
The narrative was due at 5 pm on this particular day in April, and I had all of the packages written up, except one: the cuts to the Finance Section, where I worked. At 4:30 pm, my boss, the Finance Director, left early for the day, without informing me of the budget cuts he’d made.
So, I approached the budget analyst whom I figured had the info. (I was right; she did.) “J–“, I said, “do you have the details on our cuts?”
She turned pale, eyes wide, mouth agape. “He…didn’t tell you?”
“No,” I said. “And he left, and it’s due in a half hour.”
“I better come over there,” she said.
She sat in my cubicle and handed me a sheet of paper. There were two positions being cut. One was a guy who’d suffered a stroke a year before. (Classy move, eh?) The other:
That’s how I found out about my position being eliminated: by writing up that very decision for City Council.
A lot of people I’ve told this to ask how I felt at that moment, expecting me to say it was horrible, or some such. It was not. It was actually very liberating, and in fact I laughed my ass off. Then I sat at my desk, drafted the narrative, and emailed it to my boss with the simple statement: “Please review and comment.” (To his credit, my boss was properly horrified.)
Mr. Comey has since announced that he will testify about what he knows about the Russia connections to the Trump campaign – if the hearings are public. I can guarantee you two things about that testimony: one, if it happens, it will amazingly entertaining, not-to-miss television. And two, 45 will do everything he can to make sure it does not happen.
I can’t wait.