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James Comer NYT Profile: “Angry and Vindictive” and “Willing To Go To Great Lengths To Crush His Adversaries”

Mar 21, 2023

New revelations in a New York Times profile of Rep. James Comer demonstrate that he is an “angry and vindictive” politician who will “go to great lengths to crush his adversaries,” including stealing a server, hacking emails and leaking them in a brazen attempt to intimidate a former girlfriend who has credibly accused of him abuse and a blogger for bringing those accusations to light.  Comer is openly running defense for former President Trump and his family, ending investigations into financial improprieties committed by Trump and his family members during the last administration and attempting to use his office to intimidate a district attorney who might dare to indict Donald Trump for committing crimes.  All the while Comer remains in the thrall of his MAGA constituents and far right members of his party as he pursues his political ambitions of running for statewide office in the near future.  

Comer Is Angry And Vindictive

Comer Heavily Implied That He Stole And Leaked Emails To Discredit A Blogger Who Was Investigating Allegations Of Abuse Against Him.  “During the 2015 Republican primary for governor — Mr. Comer’s dream job from a young age — a local blogger began publishing allegations that Mr. Comer had abused a college girlfriend, prompting Mr. Comer to resort to hardball tactics. His campaign turned over documents to a local prosecutor to help in an investigation of the blogger. (The prosecutor dropped the investigation after the election.) The month before the primary, a story appeared in The Lexington Herald-Leader in which leaked emails suggested coordination between the blogger and the husband of the running mate of one of Mr. Comer’s opponents in the race, the Louisville developer Hal Heiner. The rumor whispered around Kentucky political circles at the time was that Mr. Comer had swiped the emails from the computer server for the husband’s former law firm and leaked them to the newspaper. In an interview with The Times, Mr. Comer confirmed, for the first time, that he had been behind the leak and strongly hinted he had gotten them from the server. ‘I’ve had two servers in my lifetime,” Mr. Comer said when asked about the emails. “Hunter Biden’s is one, and you can — I’m not going to say who the other one was, but you can use your imagination.’  ‘It ended up in my lap,’ Mr. Comer added of the information. ‘I’ll put it like that.’” [New York Times, 3/21/23

  • Comer’s Ex-Girlfriend Accused Him Of Hitting Her And Taking Her To A Clinic For An Abortion.  “His decision to leak the emails backfired. The former college girlfriend, Marilyn Thomas, was angry about being called a liar and sent a four-page letter to a reporter at The Louisville Courier-Journal who published a devastating story just weeks before Primary Day. In the letter, which The Times obtained and authenticated, Ms. Thomas accused Mr. Comer of having hit her and said he had taken her to a clinic for an abortion, an account that was supported by her roommate at the time. The article reported Ms. Thomas’s claim that she had a document in a lock box in a Kentucky bank proving Mr. Comer had accompanied her for the abortion, but the document has never been made public.”  [New York Times, 3/21/23

Comer’s 2015 Gubernatorial Primary Defeat Left Him “Angry And Vindictive.”  “Mr. Comer held a news conference with his wife, T.J., in which he vehemently denied the allegations — and he repeats the denials today — but the damage was done. Mr. Comer lost to another Republican rival, Matt Bevin, by 83 votes, a defeat that people close to him said had left him angry and vindictive.”  [New York Times, 3/21/23

Comer Is “Willing To Go To Great Lengths To Crush His Adversaries.”  “It also underscores the cutthroat instincts of Mr. Comer, who presents himself as an affable country boy of limited abilities, but who has proved to be a methodical and transactional political operator, willing to go to great lengths to crush his adversaries. During his campaign for governor in 2015, facing allegations of abuse from an ex-girlfriend who also said he had taken her to get an abortion, Mr. Comer worked to discredit a blogger reporting on the claims and a campaign rival he believed was behind them, leaking private emails between the two. Mr. Comer denied the woman’s charges but lost the race anyway.” [New York Times, 3/21/23

Comer’s “Friend And Mentor” County Judge-Executive Mitchell Page Got In A Fistfight With His Most Recent Political Opponent.  “County Judge-Executive Mitchell Page, a friend and mentor of Mr. Comer’s, recalled local politicians visiting cemeteries to convert names on tombstones into voters. Three times already in Mr. Comer’s life, federal authorities have arrested people in Monroe County for vote buying. In Mr. Page’s most recent race, he got in a fistfight with an opponent, an altercation he said probably helped him win.” [New York Times, 3/21/23

Comer Is Running Defense For President Trump And His Family

Comer Is Demanding An Investigation Of Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg For His Rumored Indictment Of Donald Trump.  “Mr. Comer insists the inquiry is not a vehicle for political vengeance against the man who vanquished Mr. Trump in 2020 and may compete against him again next year. Instead, he says, it is a matter of legislative oversight to explore whether new laws are needed to guard against conflicts of interest for a president and his family. At the same time, Mr. Comer ‌signed on to a letter on Monday demanding answers from Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney who is said to be close to indicting Mr. Trump, calling his ongoing investigation ‘an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority.’” [New York Times, 3/21/23

Comer Dropped Investigations Into Financial Improprieties And Foreign Influence By Donald Trump And His Family.  “Mr. Comer has quietly abandoned an investigation ‌opened by the panel during the last, Democratic-led Congress, into whether Mr. Trump profited improperly from the presidency. That investigation had begun producing evidence of how foreign governments sought to influence the former president by spending lavishly at his properties. Mr. Comer also dropped a separate inquiry into the business dealings of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law whose Affinity Partners investment firm received a $2 billion investment from the main Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund six months after the Trump presidency ended.” [New York Times, 3/21/23

  • Comer “Indicated He Had No Interest In The Former President’s Finances.”  “Mr. Comer indicated he had no interest in the former president’s finances. While he did not rule out looking at Mr. Kushner’s business dealings at some point, ‌when a reporter suggested it might be politically unsustainable for him to investigate Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, he took a long pause, then replied: ‘I don’t disagree with what you said.’” [New York Times, 3/21/23

Comer Declared Himself “A Trump Man” Less Than Two Weeks After January 6.  “Mr. Comer has praised Mr. Trump frequently and expressed loyalty to him in public appearances, declaring himself ‘a Trump man,’ in a Kentucky radio interview less than two weeks after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.” [New York Times, 3/21/23

Comer Is Beholden To The Extreme Far Right Of His Party

Comer Referred To Marjorie Taylor Greene And Other Extreme Members Of His Party As “LeBron James” And Admitted That He Is In Their Thrall.  “Mr. Comer’s committee is populated by the most hard-line House Republicans, including Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who wields extraordinary power because of her mass following and ironclad bond with the speaker. Mr. Comer conceded he was limited in how much he could control such members given their outsize influence in the party. ‘It’s hard for a coach to tell LeBron James what he’s doing wrong,’ he said.” [New York Times, 3/21/23

Comer Said Of His Conspiracy Theory-Obsessed Constituents:  “The Customer’s Always Right.”  “Steering his S.U.V. through pounding rain on his way to the state capital on a recent Thursday, Representative James R. Comer, the chairman of the Oversight and Accountability Committee, reflected on the pressure he often faced from constituents to investigate unhinged claims about President Biden and Democrats. ‘You know, the customer’s always right,’ Mr. Comer said wryly, of his approach to the people who elected him and now brandish conspiracy theories, vulgar photographs featuring the president and his son, Hunter, and other lies they expect him to act upon. ‘I say, ‘Let me see it,’ because I want to see where the source is,’ Mr. Comer said. ‘They don’t know that it’s QAnon, but it’s QAnon stuff.’” [New York Times, 3/21/23

Comer Said His Constituents “Were Rooting For The Rioters” On January 6.  “Still, during hours of interviews, no issue appeared more uncomfortable for him than Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Mr. Comer says certifying Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory on Jan. 6 was the toughest vote he has ever taken, and one he wrestled with until the last moment. Then a mob of Mr. Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol, in a terrifying scene he compared to the television series ‘The Walking Dead.’ When Mr. Comer returned to his district, he was blindsided by the ire of his constituents, whose main question was, ‘Why couldn’t y’all overturn that election?’ ‘I mean, people were mad,’ Mr. Comer says now. ‘It was like they were rooting for the rioters.’”  [New York Times, 3/21/23

Comer Was Let Off The Hook For Speeding By A Local Sheriff’s Deputy Because Of His Efforts To “Get Biden.”  “Democrats and their well-funded outside groups have accused Mr. Comer of hypocrisy and branded him a MAGA extremist. But in his own party, and back home, Mr. Comer knows that is regarded as a virtue. ‘If you come to Kentucky and call me ‘ultra MAGA,’ that doesn’t hurt me in my district,’ he said, referring to Mr. Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan. Instead, at stops throughout his district — in restaurants, farms and small businesses — people treat Mr. Comer as a hero. During a visit last month, constituents told him they had seen him on Fox and urged him to ‘keep it up.’ Mr. Comer recalled a local deputy sheriff who had recently pulled him over for speeding but let him go when he realized who he had nabbed — only after leaning in to ask one question. ‘We going to get Biden or not?’”   [New York Times, 3/21/23

Comer Is Looking Out For Comer And Setting Himself Up For A Future Statewide Campaign In Kentucky

Comer Is Widely Believed To Be Planning A Statewide Campaign In The Near Future.  “It would be hard to find another member of Congress who received a political education like that of Mr. Comer, for whom politics was a family affair in one of the most politically vicious counties in America. Over decades, he has built a statewide political network that is rivaled only by Mr. McConnell. Unlike the minority leader, however, he has cultivated overwhelming popularity in Kentucky’s deep-red rural areas where Mr. Trump remains an idol. Dozens of Kentucky politicians and operatives — including his enemies — described Mr. Comer as one of the most talented retail politicians of his generation and predicted he would one day return to become governor, replace Mr. McConnell whenever he leaves the Senate or even become speaker of the U.S. House.” [New York Times, 3/21/23]