Comey: ‘There Has Always Been a Radioactive Stew of Racism in the United States’

Crossfire Hurricane
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Appearing Saturday at Politicon 2019, fired FBI Director James Comey contended, “there has always been a radioactive stew of racism” in the United States.

A partial transcript is as follows: 

NICOLE WALLACE: You been [in Nashville] for a couple of days. You visited the lynching museum. Obviously, this president’s rhetoric on race, for a parent of a very young child, is one of the most searing aspects of this presidency. Going after the Squad, playing the race card anytime he can, even when it’s not in the news to gin it up to his misogynist supporters. What sort of last harm do you think has been done to the race conversation in this country and what role do Fox News and conservative media have in that?

JAMES COMEY: I think the damage that’s been done will probably take years to undo. I watch the HBO series Chernobyl and there has always been a radioactive stew of racism in the United States. It is one of the most disturbing things about our history and you don’t need to visit the amazing memorial in Montgomery, which I did the day before yesterday, but it is part of who we are as Americans. The central challenge of our existence has been how to we contain that and we’ve done in two different ways. Have built a containment building over that radioactive stew of law. We’ve made it against the law to lynch someone, we’ve made against the law to physically assault someone by virtue of their race, their gender, their national origin. We have prohibited employment discrimination.

Those are all important, but the most important thing we have done is pushed control rods down into that radioactive stew and those control rods are cultural. Over the last 50 years, what has happened in the United States is the control rods have gone in and it is not okay to talk in a racist way if you a public figure. Now, you may secretly harbor racist views but your career is ruined if you speak that way. That is a cultural control rod we’ve pushed in. It is just not okay. What has happened to us since this president became president, and actually what happened before? The control rods are being withdrawn.


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