If the fashion choices of a number of FBI employees this week is any indication, former director James Comey remains hugely popular in the agency. As The Huffington Post noted on Saturday, the bureau's annual Family Day festivities included at least a dozen FBI employees donning "Comey Is My Homey" t-shirts in a show of support for the man who was fired by President Donald Trump.
The FBI's Family Day is a yearly event in which the families of employees get to visit the bureau, a sort of fun, community-minded event. The presence of the Comey-themed t-shirts makes it clear that some of the attendees weren't shy about making a political statement, however.
The lettering on the shirt is done up in red, white, and blue, making for a decidedly Americana look. The Huffington Post's report only cites a dozen or so people wearing them, so it may not be indicative of the views of everyone working within the FBI. But taken in concert with the reports about how well-liked and respected Comey was within the bureau, it only furthers that impression.
In May, Trump let go of Comey via a letter delivered to him by a bodyguard. Then in a televised interview with NBC News' Lester Holt days later, Trump called the former director a "showboat" and a "grandstander," and insisted the FBI had been in disarray under his leadership. He also claimed that the rank-and-file employees of the FBI had lost confidence in Comey, an assertion later forcefully denied by acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, Comey himself, and multiple reports sourced to FBI officials.
But reports citing anonymous FBI employees have indicated that Comey was a fairly popular and respected chief. In fact, some FBI agents were reportedly moved to tears by the news of his firing. And the fact that he was axed so suddenly by Trump ― as well as disrespected on his way out the door ― has seemingly not dampened that respect.
Many of the scandals and controversies currently embroiling Trump have been brought about by his own decisions. Firing Comey ― and subsequently attacking his character while implying (falsely, Trump later confirmed) that he had secret recordings of the former FBI director ― ranks high on the list.
It was just days after Comey's firing that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein appointed Comey's predecessor at the FBI, Robert Mueller, as independent counsel, perhaps the most threatening political development the Trump administration has dealt with so far.
After Comey's firing, and Trump's subsequent disparaging remarks about him, the head of the FBI Agents Association told POLITICO that the rank-and-file were extremely loyal to their former director.
"His support within the rank and file of the FBI is overwhelming,” said FBI special agent Thomas O'Connor, the president of the organization.