Former FBI Director James Comey revealed in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday what President Donald Trump had whispered as they shook hands the day after Trump’s inauguration.
“What the President whispered in my ear was, ‘I really look forward to working with you,'” Comey testified.
That interaction became infamous in recent weeks following reports that Comey had been uncomfortable about attending the ceremony held in the White House’s Blue Room that day, as he had not wanted to appear to have too friendly a relationship with Trump, Comey’s friend Benjamin Wittes told The New York Times.
Comey ultimately attended because he felt obligated to represent the FBI at the ceremony, which was meant to honour law enforcement officials, but had tried to blend into the curtains in the room in an effort to escape Trump’s notice.
“He thought he had gotten through and not been noticed or singled out and that he was going to get away without an individual interaction,” Wittes told the Times.
Yet Comey, who is 6 feet 8 inches tall, was eventually spotted by Trump. What followed, according to Wittes, was an awkward interaction in which Trump apparently tried to embrace Comey:
“Comey said that as he was walking across the room he was determined that there wasn’t going to be a hug … It was bad enough there was going to be a handshake,” Wittes said. “And Comey has long arms so Comey said he preemptively reached out for a handshake and grabbed the president’s hand. But Trump pulled him into an embrace and Comey didn’t reciprocate. If you look at the video it’s one person shaking hands and another hugging.”
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