Former FBI Director James Comey, an outspoken opponent of outgoing President Donald Trump, believes the Republican Party “needs to be burned down or changed” moving forward.
“The Republican party needs to be burned down or changed,” Comey said, according to the Guardian, expressing hope “something is shifting” with a “fault breaking apart, a break between the Trumpists and those people who want to try and build a responsible conservative party.”
“Who would want to be part of an organization that at its core is built on lies and racism and know-nothingism? It’s just not a healthy political organization,” he said, continuing to criticize Trump and those who work with and support him.
“They tell themselves stories like: ‘I’ve got to deal with this to protect the country; because I’m so important to the nation, I’ll make these compromises,'” Comey said.
“And then he’s eaten your soul, it’s too late, and then you’re the attorney general of the United States marching across Lafayette Square thick with choking pepper smoke after protesters have been cleared so the man can hold the Bible up. That’s where you end up,” he continued:
What Donald Trump has done for the last five years is attack the building from the outside to weaken its foundation. He’s withdrawn the control rods, and that’s a recipe for a nuclear disaster, a radioactive release. That’s what you saw on Capitol Hill, our own Chernobyl, when the ugly radioactive violence and racism of America explodes in public view.
Despite his clear contempt for Trump, Comey reiterated he does not believe it is in the “best interests” of the country for lawmakers to create “daily drama in our nation’s capital for three years as part of the United States versus Trump.”
That, Comey warned, would “give him the oxygen and the attention that he so craves and make it so much harder for a new president to heal the country both spiritually and physically, and to get some people out of the fog of lies that they’re trapped in.”
Rather, the Senate should convict him and allow “prosecutors in New York pursue him for the fraudster he was before he took office,” Comey concluded.
“That mixture accommodates the important public interest of the rule of law being asserted, but doesn’t do it in a way that makes it impossible for a new president to move the country on,” he added, noting his optimism for the future and describing America as a “wonderful, complicated, screwed-up country,” that is “always getting better.”
During an appearance on BBC Newsnight last week, Comey said he “obviously believes” Trump should be in jail but added Biden should “consider” pardoning him so the country can move forward:
“Donald Trump belongs in jail.”
Ex-FBI Director @Comey says while he “obviously believes” the president should be in jail, he doesn’t think “pursuing that is in the best interests of the American people”, adding Joe Biden should "consider" pardoning Donald Trump#Newsnight pic.twitter.com/RUghKyq5nW
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) January 13, 2021
“Now I don’t know whether Donald Trump, he’s not a genius, but he might figure out that [if] he accepts a pardon, that’s an omission of guilt, the United States Supreme Court has said,” Comey said.
“But as part of healing the country and getting us to a place where we can focus on things that are going to matter over the next four years, I think Joe Biden is going to have to at least think about that,” he added.
The direction of the GOP in the post-Trump presidency remains a looming question among lawmakers, many of whom remain staunch allies of Trump and his Make America Great Agenda.
It remains unclear what role Trump will play in leading the Republican Party moving forward, but a Washington Post/ABC poll released last week showed that the majority of U.S. adults, or 69 percent, believe GOP leadership should take the party in a different direction.
However, a majority among Republican leaners, 57 percent, believe GOP leadership should continue to follow Trump’s leadership.