Former FBI chief Comey says he's 'not trying to pick on' Trump with book blitz

Comey has faced criticism for some of his specific and unflattering descriptions of the president.
by Adam Edelman /  / Updated 

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Former FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday defended himself against critics of his new book who have said the former agency chief used its publication — and ensuing media blitz — to settle scores with President Donald Trump.

Comey, who in his recently published memoir discusses, among other topics, the size of Trump’s hands and the orange-hued color of his skin, rejected the notion that he was taking “shots" at the man who fired him on May 9.

“I didn’t think of them as shots, and I still don’t,” he said in an interview on NBC’s “Today." “I’m trying to be an author, something I’ve never been before, and bring the reader into the scene.”

“I’m not trying to pick on President Trump,” Comey added.

Tune in: James Comey joins Rachel Maddow live in-studio Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on MSNBC

When asked by “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie, “Did you stoop,” in appearing to insult Trump about some of his personal traits, Comey again dismissed the idea.

“I really don't think so, maybe I’m missing it,” he said. He added, “I hope not,” when Guthrie asked him whether he’d “diminished himself.”

Moments after the interview aired Wednesday, Trump bashed Comey on Twitter as “slippery” and the “worst FBI Director in history.”

Comey has faced criticism for some of the specific and unflattering details he’s used in the book — and during the barrage of media interviews he’s given ahead of and since its release — to describe Trump.

He described Trump in the book, titled "A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” as an "unethical" man "untethered to truth and institutional values” who is living in "a cocoon of alternative reality."

During an interview with ABC on Sunday, Comey also painted an ugly picture of what the president looks like in person, repeating some details from the book.

"His tie was too long as it always is,” he said. “He looked slightly orange up close with small white half-moons under his eyes, which I assume are from tanning goggles.”

He also said Trump had “average-sized hands.”

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