The former FBI Director James Comey says President Donald Trump's inability to condemn white supremacist groups is like "spraying gasoline with a fire hose" on a fire. Comey was testifying before a senate panel on the Trump-Russia probe. (Sept. 30)
CORY BOOKER: And so how do these shameful comments of the President of the United States, his outright refusal to condemn white supremacy, dangerous white supremacy, affect the psychology of groups like the Proud Boys and other violent extremist groups like them, other white nationalist groups that we have seen conduct and carry out such violence? How does it affect the psychology of these groups?
JAMES COMEY: It gives them license, and it makes them cool in the eyes of the people who make up that radioactive stew. And so it will attract more people to their warped view of the world and to their groups. It is a free pass to people that nobody wants in their communities.
CORY BOOKER: And so how do President Trump's statements about these groups affect the FBI's ability to address this threat?
JAMES COMEY: The FBI is fighting a fire of racist violence. And with words like that, the President is using a fire hose to spray gasoline on that fire. And maybe he misspoke. Maybe when he said stand down and stand by, he meant something else. I sure hope, for the sake of our whole country, he'll say that today, what he really meant to condemn these groups.
CORY BOOKER: But, sir, do you see the connection to the election that is ongoing right now, and where we are less than 35 days away from that election? Do you have cause for not just concern, but real alarm about these groups being incited and motivated by the words of the President of the United States towards violent actions?
JAMES COMEY: Yes. That's what I meant by using my homely metaphor of spraying gasoline with a fire hose. It creates a dangerous blaze for all of us, not just people of color, but for every community in America that has these thugs and criminals have a presence there, ought have to worry about this. And the President of the United States should be charged with tamping it down, not letting it free.