Conservative Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) questioned the timing of President Donald Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey on Sunday, telling CBS News, “we are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust.”
In an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday morning, host John Dickerson asked Sasse why he believed Comey had been fired.
“I’m not sure how this president makes a lot of decisions,” Sasse said. “So, I honestly don’t know. But I do know we are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust. And we need to talk honestly about our institutions that need to be restored and need to have the ability for people in five and eight and 10 years to trust these institutions.”
Sasse went on to say that he's “disappointed in the timing” Trump’s decision.
“I’m disappointed in the timing of the firing,” Sasse said. “But I want to preserve room that there’s lots of reasonable reasons that people across the political spectrum can argue about the way the FBI leadership conducted its business in the 2016 cycle.”
Sasse said politicians in Washington, D.C., have “their heads in the sand” regarding the lack of trust Americans have in numerous institutions, including the FBI. Sasse said by firing Comey the way Trump did, that trust was undermined even further.
Sasse’s view appears to have merit. A Harvard-Harris Poll survey of registered voters released in March found only 17 percent of Americans had a favorable view of Comey. Forty-one percent of Democrats had an unfavorable view of Comey, 14 percentage points more than the 27 percent of Republicans who said their view of the then-FBI director was unfavorable.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday morning shows 38 percent of U.S. adults disapprove of Trump’s decision to fire Comey, while 29 percent said they approve of the dismissal and 32 percent said they have no opinion.