Apparently Sean Spicer isn’t the only person who has tried to find a good hiding place at the White House. On Thursday, a friend of James Comey told the New York Times that the former FBI director once tried to hide himself among the curtains of the White House’s Blue Room just so Trump wouldn’t notice him.
According to Benjamin Wittes, the editor-in-chief of the Lawfare blog and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Comey tried to use the old drape disguise trick back on January 22 during a White House reception for inaugural law enforcement officers and first responders. Apparently Comey really didn’t want to attend—in what became an ongoing effort to maintain independence from the White House—but ultimately thought it’d be rude if he bailed. Wittes recounts the incident in a blog post he wrote Thursday, explaining that Comey tried a few times to distance himself from Trump (in this case, literally).
But as he told me the story, he tried hard to blend into the background and avoid any one-on-one interaction. He was wearing a blue blazer and noticed that the drapes were blue. So he stood in the back, right in front of the drapes, hoping Trump wouldn’t notice him camouflaged against the wall. If you look at the video, Comey is standing about as far from Trump as it is physically possible to be in that room.
As one can plainly see from the video, Comey does appear to try as hard as humanly possible to fade into the background of the Blue Room’s navy drapes.
But alas, Comey’s blue blazer wasn’t a close enough hue to the curtains, and Trump managed to pick his 6’8″ frame out from the very back of the room, calling him over for a handshake and a hug.
“Oh and there’s Jim,” Mr. Trump said. “He’s become more famous than me.”
Wittes says that Comey walked away from the incident “disgusted.”
“Bad enough that he was there; bad enough that there would be a handshake; he emphatically did not want any show of warmth,” Wittes writes. “He regarded the episode as a physical attempt to show closeness and warmth in a fashion calculated to compromise him before Democrats who already mistrusted him.”