There were a couple of moments when former FBI director James Comey’s responses to questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee (about his private meetings with President Donald Trump) sounded to me like those of a rape victim trying to explain why s/he did not try to fight the perpetrator off.
This inkling of mine was corroborated and expanded upon by two June 8, 2017, articles I highly recommend: “James Comey and the Predator-in-Chief” by Nicole Serratore (New York Times) and “Any working woman could have told James Comey what would happen when he spurned President Trump” by LA Times columnist Robin Abcarian.
There was also a letter to the editor in my local daily, the Press Democrat, from a female reader who noticed the same thing (I’m sure plenty of folks commented online on the articles I cite, but I’m still old-fashioned enough to read physical newsprint with my morning coffee or salad lunch.)
Here’s the point — as feminists have been saying since the 1970s, workplace harassment and rape are not about sex, but about POWER. After Trump cleared the room, the President told Director Comey that he “hoped” the FBI would drop the inquiry into General Flynn and Russian interference the 2016 U.S. election. Comey seemed dumbfounded by what took place and wrote copious notes following the encounter because “considering the character of the person” he knew the Liar-in-Chief would lie, and it would be a case of “he said/he said” in which Comey would likely be the loser.
And then, when Comey was asked by more than one (Republican) senator, “Why didn’t you tell the President he was behaving inappropriately?” Comey took the fault onto himself, saying he didn’t know, that he should have been stronger. Could the 6-foot-8 dude with plenty of Beltway cred be intimidated by, as House speaker Ryan defended, a “new-to-government guy” with a big gut and little hands? Evidently.
It has been nearly 20 years since Bill Clinton was impeached for a blow job…or was it for lying? I remember how the stained blue dress and cigar tube stories provided much hilarious, and serious, water cooler chat. Not quite the same chatter for flagrant violations of the Constitution’s “emoluments clause” or flagrant lies foisted on the American people from Trump tweets and stump speeches. For that matter, the current situation is far beyond, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Former director of national intelligence (during the Snowden years) and yet another official stretcher-of-the-truth, James Clapper, recently said. “Watergate pales in comparison.”
Yes, with due respect to harassed women from Anita Hill to the present, I think we can draw a comparison between Comey and the experience of a woman being harassed by her powerful, predatory boss. Serratore wrote: “There was precisely that sinister air of coercion, of an employee helpless to avoid unsavory contact with an employer who is trying to grab what he wants.”
Stay tuned. We are cursed with living in interesting times.