James Comey, the former FBI director, seemed to have broken the Internet on Monday with a tweet suggesting that he would be running for president in 2020. It was meant to be an April Fool’s joke but not everyone took it that way. Comey said in a tweet, “I’m in. We need someone in the middle. #2020.” The tweet also a photo of Comey standing in an unknown road with his back turned to the camera. There was an immediate reaction to it though. Many people didn’t find it as amusing as Comey had hoped.
However, this was not entirely a surprise. Comey is one of the most divisive figures in US politics at the moment. There are many Democrats who think that he played a crucial role in helping Trump win the presidency because of how he handled the Clinton email investigation. But when he decided to investigate possible Russian collusion into the 2016 election, he gained some sympathy from the left. His abrupt dismissal as the director of the FBI also earned him some friends among the president’s critics.
Comey’s investigation into Russian collusion angered President Trump and his supporters though. He also spoke after his firing about his interaction with Trump. It’s safe to say that it was not a cordial relationship. In essence, this is a person who at one point in his career drew the ire of both political sides. His supposed presidential run in 2020 would have been just as divisive. A lot of people who know a thing or two about politics will tell you that this would be the worst possible moment for Comey to run. In that case, the tweet on April Fool’s Day couldn’t be more than a joke.
But it seems a lot of Twitter users were not buying it. Many felt that the presidency is a serious matter and to joke about it in that way was not acceptable. Comey has also been a harsh critic of Trump. The fact that he made this joke just a few days after the Muller probe found no evidence of collusion could have also angered the president’s base.
However, the field of candidates for the 2020 race is getting bigger by the day. Democrats are lining up in unprecedented numbers to try to unseat Trump. We haven’t seen any GOP challengers on the president and it’s very unlikely that there will be one. At the moment, Trump’s popularity among Republicans is very high. Any primary challengers would have a hard time beating him for the GOP ticket.
Many analysts also feel that the Trump candidacy is still strong and Democrats will need a united front to win in 2020. The recent findings of the Mueller investigation also gave Trump a huge political boost and it’s very likely that it will be part of the campaign message next year. As for Comey, the former FBI director is yet to respond after the Twitter backlash on his announcement.