James Comey says he pities Trump: 'I don't dislike him, I actually feel sorry for him as a person'

  • James Comey delivered a personal assessment of Donald Trump's character in an interview with BBC Newsnight.
  • He said the President has a "corrosive" and "staining" effect on those around him.
  • Comey concluded: "I don't dislike him, I actually feel sorry for him as a person."
  • It is latest of many verbal blows the US President and former FBI Director have launched at each other.

James Comey has said that he doesn't dislike Donald Trump, but pities him instead.

"I don't dislike him, I actually feel sorry for him as a person," Comey said of his ex-boss in an interview with the BBC which aired on Thursday:

Comey went on to say that Trump had a "corrosive" and "staining" effect on his employees, and the nation as a whole.

He told the flagship Newsnight program:

"I think the way in which he acts, especially his corrosive effect on norms — truth-telling being the most important of them — has that staining effect on institutions and people who are close to them.

"He has a habit of — and even who support him would agree with this, I think — of telling lies, sometimes big, sometimes casual, and insisting that the people around him repeat them and believe him.

"And that stains any human."

Comey's jab at Trump on Newsnight is the latest of many verbal blows the U.S. president and ex-FBI director have exchanged since Trump fired Comey last May.

Immediately after Comey's dismissal, Trump called Comey a "showboat" and a "grand-stander."

'Crooked Hillary,' 'Little Marco,' among Trump's favorite nicknames
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'Crooked Hillary,' 'Little Marco,' among Trump's favorite nicknames

Hillary Clinton

Trump's nickname: "Crooked Hillary"

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Trump's nickname: "Mr. Magoo"

(NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images)

Steve Bannon

Trump's nickname: "Sloppy Steve"

(Joshua Roberts / Reuters)

Elizabeth Warren

Trump's nickname: "Pocahontas"

Former FBI director James Comey 

Trump's nickname: "Slippery James Comey"

(Photo by Ralph Alswang/ABC via Getty Images)

Kim Jong Un

Trump's nickname: "Rocket Man"

Chuck Todd 

Trump's nickname: "Sleepy eyes / sleeping son of a b---h"

(NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

Marco Rubio

Trump's nickname: "Little Marco"

Dianne Feinstein

Trump's nickname: "Sneaky Dianne Feinstein"

(Joshua Roberts / Reuters)

Ohio Governor John Kasich

Trump's nickname: "1 for 38 Kasich"

(REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk)

Bob Corker

Trump's nickname: "Liddle' Bob Corker"

NBC correspondent Katy Tur

Trump's nickname: "Little Katy"

(Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Chuck Schumer

Trump's nickname: "Cryin' Chuck / Fake Tears Chuck"

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

Trump's nickname: "Jeff Flake(y)"

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL)

Trump's nickname: 'Wacky Congresswoman Wilson"

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)

Trump's nickname: "Little Adam Schiff"

(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

Journalist Megyn Kelly

Trump's nickname: "Crazy Megyn"

(Mikhail Klimentyev\TASS via Getty Images)

The New York Times

Trump's nickname: "Failing New York Times"

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Trump's nickname: "Lyin' Ted"

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski

Trump's nicknames: "Crazy Joe Scarborough/Psycho Joe" and "Dumb as a Rock Mika"

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo)

Jeb Bush

Trump's nickname: "Low energy Jeb Bush"

(REUTERS/Mike Blake)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Trump's nickname: "Crazy Bernie"

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Jim Acosta

Trump's nickname: "Crazy Jim Acosta of Fake News CNN"

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)


Trump's nickname: "Clinton News Network"

(Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Former Sen. Al Franken

Trump's nickname: "Al Frankenstien"

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Democratic congressional candidate for Pennsylvania's 18th district Conor Lamb

Trump's nickname: "Lamb the sham'

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

'Good Morning America' anchor George Stephanopoulos

Trump's nickname: "Little George"

(Photo by Ray Tamarra/GC Images)

Face The Nation

Trump's nickname: "Deface the Nation"

(Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond

Trump's nickname: "Mad Alex"

(Photo by Chris Radburn/PA Images via Getty Images)

Former Vice President Joe Biden

Trump's nickname: "Crazy Joe Biden"

(REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

Former U.S. President Barack Obama

Trump's nickname: Cheatin’ Obama

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Trump's nickname: "Little Michael"

(mpi04/MediaPunch /IPX)


Last week, following the publishing of excerpts from Comey's memoirs, the president called the ex-FBI director a "slimeball," "slippery," and "a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!)."

Last week Comey compared Trump to a mob boss, and described the President as "morally unfit" for his office.

The BBC interview came as news organizations leaked 15 pages of memos Comey wrote as FBI Director, which included private conversations with Trump and interactions that Comey found questionable.

Read Business Insider's coverage of Comey's memos here:

Watch BBC Newsnight's entire interview here.

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