Former FBI Director James Comey was once so uncomfortable about meeting President Donald Trump that he once tried to blend into the White House curtains to avoid being noticed, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Benjamin Wittes, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Comey friend, told the Times of a January White House ceremony to thank law enforcement for providing security at the inauguration.
The newspaper reported:
“Mr. Comey ― who is 6 feet 8 inches tall and was wearing a dark blue suit that day ― told Mr. Wittes that he tried to blend in with the blue curtains in the back of the room, in the hopes that Mr. Trump would not spot him and call him out.”
Video from the event shows Comey against a curtain in the back of the room:
The strategy didn’t work.
Trump not only spotted Comey, he called to him by name and appeared to blow him a kiss. He also beckoned Comey over for a handshake ― but the then-FBI director was “determined” not to hug him, Wittes said.
That led to another awkward moment.
“It was bad enough there was going to be a handshake. And Comey has long arms so Comey said he preemptively reached out for a handshake and grabbed the president’s hand,” Wittes was quoted as saying. “But Trump pulled him into an embrace and Comey didn’t reciprocate. If you look at the video, it’s one person shaking hands and another hugging.”
Trump fired Comey last week. Trump said it was at least in part due to the FBI director’s Russia investigation.
The news about Comey trying to blend into the curtains was met with no small amount of amusement on social media: