When you're 6 feet 8 inches tall, it's nearly impossible to blend in anywhere. But such was former FBI Director James Comey's mission when he arrived at the White House earlier this year for an event hosted by President Trump, according to a New York Times report. Wishing to avoid being noticed by Trump, Comey reportedly tried to blend with curtains in the Oval Office as guests milled about. In his dark blue suit, the then-FBI director stood in front of similarly-hued curtains, all in the hope of remaining inconspicuous. Unfortunately, Trump spotted Comey and called him forward, then turned what should have been a handshake into an awkward hug. Later, Comey reportedly said he was "disgusted" by the president's embrace, believing it to be a purposeful move to compromise public perception of Comey's integrity.
This was by no means the only instance when Trump's actions made Comey feel uncomfortable. In fact, several details in memos written by Comey painted a strained relationship between the new POTUS and the former FBI head, as reported by Michael S. Schmidt at The New York Times.
From Comey's perspective, according to reports, he often felt that the president was more interested accruing his personal loyalty than upholding the integrity — and the public perception thereof — of the FBI's independence.
According to two sources who have seen Comey's memos, Trump called him directly and asked when he would publicly announce that there was no investigation into the president. Comey informed Trump that if he were interested in a particular and ongoing investigation at the FBI, he would need to direct his White House counsel to follow the proper protocol and go through the Department of Justice.
On a separate occasion, just one week after Trump's inauguration, Comey was invited to the White House for a private dinner with Trump. During the meal, Trump reportedly asked Comey for a pledge of personal loyalty. Comey did not acquiesce, according to the report, telling the president that he would always be honest, but could not be considered "reliable" in the same sense as perhaps other government officials. The White House denies Comey's telling of the events, instead saying that the former FBI director had requested the dinner, and that Trump never asked for any promise of allegiance.
There was also a one-one-one meeting during which Trump told Comey, "I hope you can let this go," referencing the FBI investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser. The White House also denies this report.
Based on information from Comey's memos and testimony from others close to him, it seems impossible for anyone — including the White House — to deny that Comey often felt uncomfortable with how Trump approached their relationship.