Former FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday published a scathing op-ed in the New York Times demonstrating how people such as current Attorney General Bill Barr and former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein have found themselves corrupted and had their souls “eaten” by President Donald Trump.
Comey explains that being in close “proximity” with an “amoral leader” such as Trump inevitably compromises an officials’ ethics, even “accomplished people” who he says lack “inner strength.”
From the op-ed:
But more often, proximity to an amoral leader reveals something depressing. I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from. It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.
It starts with your sitting silent while he lies, both in public and private, making you complicit by your silence. In meetings with him, his assertions about what “everyone thinks” and what is “obviously true” wash over you, unchallenged, as they did at our private dinner on Jan. 27, 2017, because he’s the president and he rarely stops talking. As a result, Mr. Trump pulls all of those present into a silent circle of assent.
“From the private circle of assent, it moves to public displays of personal fealty at places like cabinet meetings,” he writes. “While the entire world is watching, you do what everyone else around the table does — you talk about how amazing the leader is and what an honor it is to be associated with him.”
“Of course, to stay, you must be seen as on his team, so you make further compromises,” he writes. “You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values. And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.”