by Lanny Davis – 11/7/16
A redundancy is two words side by side that mean the same thing.
The two words “Trump” and “hypocrite” amount to a redundancy.
We’ve seen GOP nominee Donald Trump’s hypocrisy during his entire campaign — as most of his Republican opponents pointed out repeatedly during the GOP primaries.
On Sunday, we witnessed one of the more egregious examples of Trump’s hypocrisy, as well as among his top surrogates, after FBI Director James Comey reconfirmed his July 6, 2016 statement that Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton committed no crime regarding the handling of her emails and use of a private server while secretary of State.
But when Comey sent his letter on Oct. 28 to eight Republican committee chairs stating that he was looking into emails on another computer without knowing whether any contained new Hillary Clinton emails, Trump immediately jumped to the conclusion that the Comey letter showed Clinton was guilty of a crime regarding her emails, immediately praising Comey.
“It took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution. You know that. It took a lot of guts.”
“I was not his fan,” he continued. “But I’ll tell you what: What he did, he brought back his reputation. He brought it back.”
And he also said: “What he did was the right thing.”
And what did he say Sunday, after Comey’s statement clearing Clinton — again — with regard to emails?
Did he reiterate his praise for Comey?
Surprise! He went back to claiming the system is “rigged” and that Clinton will be prosecuted for the emails, leading cheers, once again, of “lock her up.”
Similarly, Kellyanne Conway, the omnipresent-on-TV Trump campaign manager, tweeted shortly after Comey sent his Oct. 28 letter:
“Astonished by the all-out assault on Comey by Team Clinton. Suggesting he is partisan interfering with the election is dangerous & unfair.”
Yet as of Sunday night, Conway was silent in her praise of Comey, but had the time to make a snarky Twitter reply to Clinton’s press secretary.
Then came the two equally out-of-touch Trump partisans, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) and former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).
After Comey’s Oct. 28 letter to Congress, Giuliani appeared on every TV cable show he could to praise Comey’s good judgment.
He also said he had heard from FBI officials (later, he said they were former FBI officials) of their review of Anthony Weiner’s computer (Weiner is the husband of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s close aide) before Comey’s letter announce it.
(He failed to explain why he hadn’t just admitted he was guilty of a criminal conspiracy to leak protected criminal investigation information.)
Now that Comey has reiterated his previous conclusion about Clinton, did Giuliani rush to the TV cameras to take it all back and repeat his praise of Comey’s judgment?
Not a chance.
Then, speaking of hypocrisy, there goes Gingrich. He too couldn’t wait to rush to the TV cable shows in reaction to Comey’s first letter, saying it was further proof that Clinton was “corrupt” — a word used often, even though there is no due process that our system provides before pronouncing such a verdict.
Of course, Gingrich has long been known for using personal invective as a surrogate for facts.
Gingrich’s ultimate hypocrisy is that this is the same man who in January 1997 was reprimanded by the House of Representatives, on a vote of 395-28 — which included almost all his fellow Republicans — for unethical conduct.
In fact, he admitted that he had brought “discredit to the House and broke its rules by failing to ensure that financing for two projects would not violated federal tax law and that he gave the House of Representatives false information.”
This made Gingrich the first Speaker in the House’s 208-year history to be disciplined for ethical wrongdoing.
So now the hypocritical Trump — the same man who bragged about being a great businessman while his companies filed for bankruptcy multiple times; the same man who accuses Clinton of corruption while never explaining his illegal use of Trump Foundation funds to make a campaign donation to the Florida attorney general, followed by that attorney general dropping a fraud investigation against Trump University; the same man who bragged about conduct that amounted to criminal sexual assault while dismissing such conduct as “locker-room talk” — shamelessly refuses to withdraw his reckless and baseless charges against Clinton.
By the way, I criticized Comey for sending his letter 11 days before the presidential election when he had no new facts about Clinton’s emails, and I stand behind that criticism. I believe Comey showed poor judgment.
But his letter issued on Sunday isn’t about judgment.
It is about Comey reporting facts.
Or, more precisely, the absence of facts supporting any charge of wrongdoing against Clinton — an attempt to undo the damage he did when he unfairly sent his Oct. 28 fact-free letter so close to a presidential election.
Will Trump apologize to Clinton for his rush to judgment without any evidence, as he was praised Comey for the Oct. 28 congressional letter?
Don’t hold your breath.
But do look for a Hillary Clinton substantial victory on Tuesday night as the American people elect her as president while repudiating Donald Trump’s reckless charges and his shameless hypocrisy since the beginning of his presidential campaign.
Trump. Shameless hypocrisy.
Talk about redundancy.
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Lanny Davis is co-founder of the Washington law firm Davis Goldberg Galper PLLC, and Trident DMG, a strategic media firm specializing in crisis management. He served as special counsel to President Clinton from 1996 to 1998 and is a regular columnist for The Hill newspaper. He has been a friend of Hillary Clinton since they were students at Yale Law School together in 1969-70.
To read the column on The Hill, click here.