Former FBI Director James Comey’s new tell-all memoir, “A Higher Loyalty” is scheduled for release on April 17, and White House aides are not preparing any talking points for Trump. The hope is that the president’s trip to South America, as well as his summit with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago, will be enough of a “distraction”, reports Politico.
Rather than prepare Trump for the expected wall-to-wall coverage, aides are choosing to ignore the book’s release altogether. Two White House officials said staffers in the West Wing understand that creating an advanced narrative is a waste of time because the president could destroy any prepared talking points with a single tweet.
The nitty-gritty of preparing talking points and rapid response is being outsourced to the Republican National Committee, which also handled much of the rebuttal when Comey testified on Capitol Hill in June. There is no blitz attack planned by the White House, which would be seen as “punching down,” according to one of the White House officials.
An RNC official confirmed that the group is preparing a Comey response but declined to provide details or say how many people are involved in the effort.
Former Bush Secretary Ari Fleisher said, “The White House should recognize this will be a No. 1 nationwide best-seller. They cannot talk it off the best-seller list. Nothing they do will increase sales for it, they’ll already be sky high. That ship’s sailed. This book is selling, so there’s merit in responding and no downside in responding.”
Asawin Suebsaeng from the Daily Beast tweeted: “aides have told me for weeks that any real WH strategy on this would be shaped in real-time, molding around however publicly mad Trump got at it.”
Aides have told me for weeks that any real WH strategy on this would be shaped in real-time, molding around however publicly mad Trump got at it https://t.co/1swXqiPIRg
— Asawin Suebsaeng (@swin24) April 9, 2018
For more than two weeks, Comey will be all over the media talking about his book: an interview on ABC on April 15, an appearance on ABC’s The View on April 18, a live interview with CNN on April 19, and later that day he’ll do an MSNBC interview, Fox News on April 26 and a PBS NewsHour interview on April 30.
It will be impossible for Trump to ignore Comey, so we can expect even more unhinged tweets and reactions.