There was quite a bit of chatter yesterday morning that Donald Trump would stop by FBI headquarters as a way of signaling support for the bureau in the wake of the president firing its director. It's easy to imagine the scene Trump envisioned: he'd stop by, shake a few hands, tell a few jokes, maybe hand out a few electoral maps, and win the FBI over with some presidential charm.I was eager to see what kind of reception he'd receive, but the plan was apparently scrapped. NBC News explained why
The White House has abandoned the idea of President Trump visiting FBI headquarters after being told he would not be greeted warmly, administration officials told NBC News.Amid the continuing fallout over his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, Trump was considering an appearance at the FBI's J Edgar Hoover Building in downtown Washington, DC. The White House publicly floated the idea as recently as Thursday morning.
The report added that FBI officials told the White House "the optics" would be unkind: "FBI officials made clear that the president would not draw many smiles and cheers, having just unceremoniously sacked a very popular director."One FBI employee told NBC, "My sense is most FBI employees feel a loyalty to Comey. And whether they agree or disagree with the way he handled the email case, like and respect him ... Trump would not be well-received at headquarters."And if there's one thing that seems fairly clear about Trump's preferences, he doesn't like to go where he isn't going to be "well-received."This dovetails nicely with a Washington Post report
in yesterday's paper:
Within the Justice Department and the FBI, the firing of Comey has left raw anger, and some fear, according to multiple officials. Thomas O'Connor, the president of the FBI Agents Association, called Comey's firing "a gut punch. We didn't see it coming, and we don't think Director Comey did anything that would lead to this."Many employees said they were furious about the firing, saying the circumstances of his dismissal did more damage to the FBI's independence than anything Comey did in his three-plus years in the job.One intelligence official who works on Russian espionage matters said they were more determined than ever to pursue such cases. Another said Comey's firing and the subsequent comments from the White House are attacks that won't soon be forgotten. Trump had "essentially declared war on a lot of people at the FBI," one official said. "I think there will be a concerted effort to respond over time in kind."
At the White House yesterday, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders assured reporters that she's spoken to "countless
" FBI officials in recent days who are delighted to the president fired Trump.Putting aside the question of why the deputy press secretary would be having "countless" conversations with FBI officials this week, by all appearances, she appears to have made this up