In a shocking move Tuesday afternoon, President Trump fired FBI director James Comey via letter. Immediately following the public release of the letter, observers noted the passive-aggressive tone of one particular section. "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau," he wrote in the letter's second paragraph.
By comparison, the rest of the letter is reasonably formal, at least by Trump standards. "Dear Director Comey," it begins. "I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately."
Following that biting second paragraph, Trump continued: "It is essential that we find new leadership for the F.B.I. that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors."
Ouch. The abrupt termination of Comey's position at the FBI comes at a time when the FBI is investigating evidence of potential collusion between Russia and Trump's presidential campaign. It also follows what the FBI describes as a mishandling of the Clinton email investigation.
Following the release of the letter, Twitter lit up with disbelief over the tone of that second paragraph.
The History Books
Second paragraph for the history books. pic.twitter.com/lfepDGt6vY— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) May 9, 2017
"Needs Parsing By Congress"
There are just not enough drugs in the world to make me do anything other than stare at the second paragraph in abject horror. pic.twitter.com/yRWF89LUV9— kara vallow (@teenagesleuth) May 9, 2017
What Really Matters
Trump just fired the FBI director investigating him.— Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) May 9, 2017
Despite the dissonance or irony of his stated reason, that's all that really matters.
If you wrote a satire that ends with the president going to prison, could you pen something better than the second paragraph in this letter? pic.twitter.com/blUfVsWNne— David W. Brown (@dwbwriter) May 9, 2017
If you think the second paragraph here is insane, just wait for the batshit presidential tweetstorm. pic.twitter.com/Nvcco0pvGt— Andrew Kirell (@AndrewKirell) May 9, 2017
SECOND PARAGRAPH: "I appreciate you informing, on 3 separate occasions, I am NOT under investigation..."— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) May 9, 2017
Um, he IS under investigation. pic.twitter.com/3a7CA6GSj1
In other words, even while terminating an individual, Trump will take the opportunity to mislead the public.