This morning, you, me, and everyone you know gathered around a television, computer or other streaming device to watch a plainspoken, folksy giant spin a yarn about the downfall of the republic and one very awkward Tinder date with the President. Lordy, how did we get here?
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Last June the highlight of my social media month was live-tweeting the Tonys, now I’m gleefully live-tweeting a Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing. These are the parts of House of Cards that I fast-forward through but suddenly I’m an expert on obstruction of justice and collusion with foreign powers. I’ve submitted my resume to Columbia Law School for a professorship with a note that reads “Comey taught me.”
What did we learn today? Girl, I don’t know. The most damning evidence for me was that the president thinks 6 p.m. is a good time to have dinner. I feel it’s a core American value that anything from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. is solidly supper territory. This is a hill I will die on.
We also learned that James Comey keeps the world’s most thorough Bullet Journal. He’s a Capitol Hill Carrie Bradshaw. And his diary is full of the most exquisite, shady details written in the cadence of a genial Middle School Science teacher.
He released a written statement yesterday in anticipation of his testimony that detailed his excruciating dinner and reads like 50 Shades of Grey for people with social anxiety.
“A few moments later, the President said, ‘I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.’ I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence. “
I’m obsessed with this. In the statement, this is actually the second time that the President asks for loyalty, only to receive an awkward “No, thank you, please” from Comey. If the Trump administration is the cast of Arrested Development, Comey is definitely George Michael Bluth.
Actual footage of Comey coming home after every Trump meeting:
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Comey’s unshowy but highly descriptive prose is like Garrison Keillor recapping an episode of The Sopranos that he didn’t particularly like. It’s so evocative that he didn’t even need to dwell on the terrible dinner details in his spoken testimony. What he’d written was enough to forever convince us that hanging out with Trump is about as wonderful as a business lunch with Jabba the Hut.
In front of the Senate, Comey spent a good deal of time describing his thought process and the reasons he did what he did. Perhaps best of all, he testified that he felt compelled to diligently record the details of his dinner with the president before a false narrative emerged “because of the nature of the person.” Lordy! That’s a Mother of the Church read right there. Comey basically said “I thought he would lie, because he’s a liar.”
That’s the thing about folksy folks, they can read to filth and make it sound as unassuming as reading The Cheesecake Factory menu. James Comey may be a plainspoken, genial giant with an incredible memory for detail, but don’t think he won’t cut you down with a quickness and a smile. “Because of the nature of the person” is going to be my go-to insult for the summer.
I don’t dislike you. I dislike your nature as a person.
Speaking of down-to-earth yet devastating takedowns, perhaps the highlight of the hearing came when Comey was asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein why he wasn’t more forthright in giving Trump the Heisman. The former Director spun out into a discussion of how stunning the conversation was, a tangent that included an instantly classic aside about the purported Oval Office tapes.
“Lordy, I hope there are tapes” is the new “Cash me outside.” Comey basically told the President to bring it. I have watched a lot of Jerry Springer in my day but I have never seen a person challenge another person by using the word Lordy. Comey was like “Lordy, I wish a bish would!”
This is all too much. I’m just going to sit here in awkward silence for the rest of my life. Or until the testimony resumes. Whichever comes first.
Follow R. Eric Thomas on Twitter.