'What kind of people are we, for God’s sakes?:' James Comey said Trump's border policy 'adds to the pain' that he helped him get elected

Win McNamee/GettyJames Comey testifies in Washington DC in 2016.
  • Former FBI Director James Comey said it pains him to think his actions helped Trump enter the White House, especially in light of what’s happening at the US border.
  • He told The Guardian that Trump’s immigration policies should force Americans to ask: “What kind of people are we, for God’s sakes?”
  • He repeated his belief that Trump is doing “great damage” to the US.

Former FBI director James Comey has said that it is “painful” to think that his actions helped elect Donald Trump, particularly in light of the uproar over his administration’s family separation policy at the US-Mexico border.

Under the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, over 2,000 migrant children were taken from their parents between April 19 and May 31, according to official figures.

In an interview with The Guardian, Comey said that the policy is forcing a period of self-reflection in America.

“When you stare at children crying, being taken away from their mothers, it forces your eyes above statutes and numbers, to: ‘What kind of people are we, for God’s sakes?’

“That’s a lifting of the national eyes that is powerful and potentially the kind of inflection point that I’m talking about. That’s the kind of thing that awakens the giant.”

Comey said that the policy could have the same significance as pictures of black children being bitten by police dogs in Alabama during the 1960s civil rights movement.

“The giant awakened in our country in 1963 and 1964 and that changed our country,” Comey told The Guardian.

“Martin Luther King wrote to that giant in ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’, basically saying: ‘You busy, moderate people need to get in the game.’ And that happens every so often in American history. Again, I could be convincing myself of this, but I think the giant is awakening.”

Comey also said that he often thinks that his decision to announce that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Hilary Clinton’s use of a private email server 11 days before the 2016 election was responsible for Trump’s victory – mostly because people keep saying it to him.

“I hear that quite a bit,” Comey said. “It’s very painful.”

But he said that, given the option of going back in time, he would still act in the same way – motivated by what he says is his desire to inform the American public.

“And I sometimes wonder, if I could go back in time, would I do something deeply unprincipled? I wouldn’t. All it does is make it painful, [because] I think Donald Trump is doing – and will do – great damage to my country. But that just adds to the pain.”

Read the full interview from The Guardian.

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