‘Comey’ is now a verb

The Justice Department has declined to prosecute former FBI Director James B. Comey for mishandling confidential memos he wrote documenting his interactions with President Trump. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

James Comey has contributed his name to our political vocabulary. To “Comey” is a term that should gain wide usage in politics. May it live forever.

Some of us are old enough to remember Robert Bork, a respected legal scholar who was so mercilessly (and groundlessly) eviscerated by his political opponents when he was nominated to the Supreme Court that, today, to “Bork” a nominee is to savage them before they ever get a chance to open their mouths. Similarly, to “Comey” means to repeatedly deceive while cloaking oneself in pious, self-anointed virtue. In Washington, this happens frequently. But until now, it had no name.

Comey earned his verb and his iconic status as a swamp creature par excellence. He ignored the rules and used his office to give a pass to the candidate he thought was going to win and decided to deceitfully derail the candidate he simply did not like, even after he won. If you don’t believe me, just look to the Justice Department Inspector General’s report. Per the report: “Comey’s own, personal conception of what was necessary was not an appropriate basis for ignoring the policies and agreements governing the use of FBI records, especially given the other lawful and appropriate actions he could have taken to achieve his desired end.” Read: Comey didn’t have to break the rules, but he chose to anyway.

The more one reads the Inspector General’s report, the more shaken one should be. Comey told the president, to his face, “I don’t do sneaky things, I don’t leak, I don’t do weasel moves,” but the facts of the report read otherwise. Most damning is the example Comey set for the FBI’s 35,000 employees when it comes to the gathering and handling of law enforcement information. No special agent would ever get off as easy as Comey has.

To put an exclamation point on the hypocrisy that “Comey-ing” conveys, Comey actually had the gall to want an apology. That is a page straight out of President Donald Trump’s own playbook.

Comey’s impact on history cannot be overstated. He may well have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency, even though she was obviously his preferred candidate. He threw out the rule book to avoid indicting Clinton and, more than any other person, he has shaped Trump’s presidency. Few single characters can say that.

Anyway, we will soon see if Comey, author of the ironically titled memoir, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership,” will keep flogging his book so as to show him as a celebrated hero: someone who merely tried to save the country from the villain Trump, who supplied the truth and to whom the dignity and rules of the FBI did not apply. It’s a classic tale of an egotist suggesting that the ends justify the means. So, if you believe that you are better, that you know best and that your wishes should not be subservient to the rules, you can just go ahead and “Comey.”

Ed Rogers is a political consultant and a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush White Houses and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour in 1991.



Recommended for you

(19) comments

hermit thrush

to airball55: my god, the ig report found nothing about comey "not following the rules" in regard to not indicting hillary clinton. on the other hand, the same report also found that comey broke no laws, yet here you are calling for him to be arrested. it's really something to behold.


On this, you are correct. His leaking of evidence and other actions will never be prosecuted. Mr. Barr has also concluded that it won't happen. Much like the Trump collusion fiasco of which many on here also concluded should be jailed or whatever...those claims were also debunked. Comey broke FBI policy and guidelines. But when you are the director it can be ignored I suppose. Hillary is what she is...and thankfully we will not be burdened by her ever again. It seems those who reach certain heights can do whatever they want. Career politicians, FBI directors and so on. Trump is correct on one topic...there most definitely is a swamp and no one, especially him can be trusted. You sir seem to defend every piece of you know what as long as it appeases your political alignment and that in my opinion is entirely the issue with party politics today. I don't trust any of them, you trust one side. Good Day sir!

hermit thrush

"His leaking of evidence and other actions will never be prosecuted."

i don't know what "evidence" you're referring to comey leaking, but that point aside, that is a weird sentence to write. to be 100% clear, comey is never going to be prosecuted because he broke no laws. similarly, your claim that comey should be arrested is not something you should have written, but it's also not something you're going to be prosecuted for because there's nothing illegal about it.

you are woefully misguided about whom i do and do not trust. on the other hand, if you are here proclaiming that comey should be arrested, then you are clearly putting your trust in some people and media sources you shouldn't.

hermit thrush

to airball55: if you want to "discuss this" with me, then by all means go ahead. no one is stopping you. none of that changes the fact that comey broke no laws, and therefore calling for him to be jailed in unhinged.

hermit thrush



"Comey means to repeatedly deceive while cloaking oneself in pious, self-anointed virtue. "

Who were the people who called themselves the "Family Values Party" then elected our abortionist-in-chief? Who said "Character counts" and then elected draft-dodger Trump in record number? This newspaper once ran an editorial ranking all the democratic candidates by the shade of their skin color. The blind hypocrisy of this editorial puts it in that league.


What in the editorial isn’t true? It’s not an article about trump...it’s a factual piece about a person who should be arrested. A person who was trusted at the highest of levels. Sad times. Can’t trust those given the highest entrustment.

hermit thrush

my god, comey broke zero laws. to say that he should be arrested is bonkers.


Wow. I can’t discuss this with you. No worries. I find it interesting that those who want trump jailed, impeached etc (I don’t entirely disagree FYI) defend people like this. The hypocrisy knows no bounds

hermit thrush

and if you are genuinely asking "what in the editorial isn't true," how about lines like "He ignored the rules and used his office to give a pass to the candidate he thought was going to win" and "He threw out the rule book to avoid indicting Clinton." those claims are nonsense!


There are lawyers...at the highest of levels that would respectfully disagree with you on this and I will leave it up to them. Same way I left the two year collusion investigation up to Mueller and much more accurately, his team. He did ignore the rules, not much to discuss on this.


That's a lie, Comrade Hairball.

If you like sucking up to the crackpot traitor, that's on you.



You voted for Donald Trump. Trump openly admitted obstruction of justice via Twitter. This reminds me of the Bill Clinton impeachment. Republicans all sided with convicted child molester Dennis Hastert to condemn Bill Clinton's "misdeeds". I was on Bill Clinton's side, I am guessing you supported the child molester.

Jerry Moore Staff
Jerry Moore

We never published an editorial ranking Democratic candidates by their skin color. We ran an opinion column by a contributor speculating on whom Democrats would find the most acceptable presidential candidate based on the progressive policy of identity politics. This notion is widespread among progressives and is very focused on race. The column demonstrated one of its glaring flaws.

Jerry Moore

Editorial page editor

Watertown Daily Times





As focused on race as the Republican Party and Comrade Trump who never found a brown they didn't despise?


I was going to say the same thing...


From the totally non-racist editorial: "Cuomo has an olive complexion and Mediterranean features."


Buddy, we can read. You honestly believe that "progressives" think about if Cuomo has olive skin color? Donald Trump was screaming about Obama being born in Kenya before the election because Trump is racist. Trump's businesses have paid fines of over $150,000 three times do to his racist leadership. To try and say Democrats are in any way similar is a joke. Your job is to lead intellectually, you are the newspaper for the region that had the Massena Blood Libel. Know the region's history. Running the Kevin Beary "editorial" was stunningly irresponsible, his voice should not be amplified by anyone.


From the editorial I am talking about:

"Cuomo has an olive complexion and Mediterranean features."

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.