But Trump still has his supporters. Senator John Cornyn said, “Obviously he’s been the center of controversy both among Democrats and Republicans at different times. … It sounds to me from reading the president’s letter that he lost confidence in him.” On Twitter, he was quick to point out that Democrats have been calling for Comey’s ouster since his precedent-violating comments on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server.
Ds were against Comey before they were for him.
— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) May 10, 2017
Similarly, Senator Susan Collins justified Trump’s actions, saying, “[The Clinton case] embroiled Director Comey into political controversies that unfortunately continued to this day.” She also called out allegations that the firing was done to stop the Russia investigation. “The president did not fire the entire FBI. He fired the director of the FBI. And any suggestion that this is somehow going to stop the FBI’s investigation of the attempts by the Russians to influence the elections last fall is really patently absurd,” Collins said.
Trump found support in the House as well as the Senate.
Representative Bob Goodlatte said, “The FBI is the premier law enforcement agency in the world and it is critical to have a director who holds the trust of the American people. It is clearly the President’s prerogative to remove the FBI Director, as was recommended by the top two officials at the Department of Justice.”
Other members of the House issued statements and tweets with similar sentiments.
President Trump made the right decision to relieve FBI Director James Comey of his duties.
— Ron DeSantis (@RepDeSantis) May 9, 2017
Director Comey lost the trust of both Rs and Ds. Our next FBI Director must be non-partisan and widely respected.
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) May 9, 2017
Many Republicans chose to stay out of the fray, focusing their comments on the process of choosing a new FBI director. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took the lead on this course of action, saying, “Once the Senate receives a nomination, we look forward to a full, fair, and timely confirmation process to fill the Director position. This is a critical role that is especially important as America faces serious threats at home and abroad.”
Trump critic Lindsay Graham choose the same course. “Given the recent controversies surrounding the director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well. I encourage the President to select the most qualified professional available who will serve our nation’s interests,” said the senator.
It remains to be seen whether there are sufficient Republican critics after Trump’s actions to get the investigation Democrats have been clamoring for.