After initial shock, Republicans line up behind president on Comey firing


Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., during a TV interview Wednesday. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The news of James Comey’s ouster as director of the FBI was met with shock, confusion and condemnation from both sides of the political spectrum — although mostly from Democrats — Tuesday evening.

By the next morning, however, Fox News had managed to find plenty of people willing to publicly defend the president’s decision to fire Comey.

“I think it couldn’t happen soon enough,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday. “I’d lost confidence in Comey a long time ago.”

Paul dismissed suggestions that the FBI director’s dismissal was related to his role in the investigation into possible collusion between Russian officials and members of Trump’s presidential campaign.

“There’s a lot of hypocrisy going on,” Paul said, pointing to Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who called for a special prosecutor to take over the Russia investigation, suggesting that Comey’s firing might be part of a “cover up.”

“I think it’s a lot of crocodile tears,” Paul said of the outrage from Schumer and others who’d previously condemned Comey for his handling of information related to the Clinton email investigation days before the presidential election.

Democrats, he argued, “should be thanking Trump for getting rid of Comey because he politicized something that may well have had something to do with Hillary Clinton’s loss.”

Slideshow: Hundreds gather at the White House to protest Trump’s firing of FBI Dir. Comey >>>

Former House Speaker and past presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was similarly dismissive of those who’ve raised questions about the timing of Comey’s termination.

“If Trump comes out at lunchtime today and says, the American flag is red, white and blue, Chuck Schumer will yell out it’s actually fuscia,” he said.

While several top Republicans also expressed concerns about the timing and rationale behind Comey’s firing, Gingrich insisted that Democrats are simply operating on the “knee jerk” mentality that “if President Trump is for it, it’s gotta be wrong.”

“It’s really pathetic,” he said.

Echoing the White House’s own messaging, Gingrich defended Trump’s decision by pointing to the bipartisan reputation of newly confirmed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who previously served as U.S. attorney in Maryland under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. It was Rosenstein who authored the memo that Trump says prompted him to fire Comey.

“This was not President Trump,” Gingrich insisted. “This is a brand new deputy attorney general, independent person, picked by President Obama to be U.S. attorney, approved by the Senate 94-6.”

Meanwhile, on the Senate floor, Kentucky Republican and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell resisted Democrats’ calls for a special prosecutor to takeover the Russia investigation previously led by Comey.

“Today we’ll no doubt hear calls for a new investigation,” he said, “which can only serve to impede the current work being done.”

According to Politico, the outrage over Comey’s ouster came as a shock to Trump, who reportedly complained about the lack of support for his decision on TV news broadcasts Tuesday night. This frustration was apparent as the president took to Twitter to defend his actions and condemn his critics in a torrent of tweets posted late Tuesday and into the next morning.

Trump continued to stand by his controversial call during a meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at the White House Wednesday.

“He wasn’t doing a good job,” Trump told reporters when asked why Comey was fired. “Very simply. He was not doing a good job.”

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