Former FBI Director James Comey, a longtime critic of President Donald Trump’s, described the Capitol insurrection as the Republican Party’s “very own Chernobyl” in a new interview with The Guardian.
Comey lambasted the GOP as a party “built on lies and racism and know-nothingism.”
“Something is shifting and I’m hoping it’s the fault breaking apart, a break between the Trumpists and those people who want to try and build a responsible conservative party, because everybody should know that we need one,” he said. “Who would want to be part of an organization that at its core is built on lies and racism and know-nothingism? It’s just not a healthy political organization.”
Comey says he was disturbed by the Capitol insurrection, which took place on January 6 when a mob of President Trump’s supporters breached the Capitol in a bid to overturn the results of the 2020 general election on the premise that the election was fraudulent. (Although President Trump has continued to claim that there was widespread election fraud, there is no evidence to support this.) Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died in the insurrection.
“I was sickened to watch an attack on the literal and symbolic heart of our democracy, and, as a law enforcement person, I was angered. I am mystified and angry that Capitol Hill wasn’t defended,” Comey said. “It’s a hill! If you wanted to defend it, you could defend it, and for some reason it was not defended. I think that’s a 9/11-size failure and we’re going to need a 9/11-type commission to understand it so that we don’t repeat it.”
He further drew an analogy between the attack, the most significant case of terrorism on American soil since September 11, 2001, and the 198,6 meltdown of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, which exposed Soviet malfeasance.
“What Donald Trump has done for the last five years is attack the building from the outside to weaken its foundation,” Comey said. “He’s withdrawn the control rods, and that’s a recipe for a nuclear disaster, a radioactive release.”
“That’s what you saw on Capitol Hill, our own Chernobyl, when the ugly radioactive violence and racism of America explodes in public view,” he added.
Comey was fired by Trump in 2017 while investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump particularly objected to Comey’s investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Trump pardoned Flynn in November 2020.