Former FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday that if he had a do-over, he would “tear” out portions of his tell-all memoir that unflatteringly described President Donald Trump’s complexion as “slightly orange” and noted the president’s hands were “smaller” than his.
During a live interview on ABC’s “The View,” Comey lamented that his characterizations of the president had created a “distraction” from his larger theme of leadership and gave his critics fodder to disparage his message.
“If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't put that paragraph in … just because it gave people a handhold who hadn't read the book to attack the book,” Comey said.
In his book, “A Higher Loyalty,” the former FBI director unfavorably describes the president’s height, skin tone and hand size in passages that have drawn rebukes from the president’s supporters.
Comey writes in the memoir that upon shaking the president’s hand he noticed “it was smaller than mine, but did not seem unusually so.” The remark appeared to reference a 2016 campaign squabble between Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, another GOP presidential contender, who sparred during a Republican debate over the size of their hands.
The former FBI director has also drawn criticism for noting that Trump’s “face appeared slightly orange, with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles.”
Asked about the passages, Comey said in hindsight he would "would tear that paragraph out."
On “The View,” the latest in a series of interviews in promotion of his book, Comey insisted that his “intention” was not to malign the president, but that he ultimately included it in an effort to draw in readers.
“I really wasn’t trying to pick on Donald Trump,” Comey said. “I could hear my editor’s voice saying, ‘bring the reader, bring the reader!’”
He added: “I wasn't making fun of his hands. In fact, I say in the book, his hands seem normal size to me.”