People around southwest Ohio shared a mix of opinions Wednesday about President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday.
Here’s a sampling of what people from Butler, Clark, Montgomery and Warren County had to say about the president’s decision.
Jack Chrisman, 69, Republican activist and former local office candidate, Clearcreek Twp.:
“He’s going to get Hillary now, you watch.” said Chrisman, who has run for local office and campaigned for candidates and against tax issues in Warren County.
Chrisman said he could tell Comey’s time was growing short in press appearances last July.
“You could tell in his eyes he was mixed up about what he was doing,” Chrisman said. “You knew he was in trouble right then.”
Thomas Krumholtz, 68, of Springfield
The President has the right to fire the FBI director, Krumholtz said. Comey got too political “when he didn’t look into the e-mails of Hillary,”
Tom Hall, 21, Madison Twp.:
“I was quite surprised to hear about the firing of Director Comey. I don’t think the details of exactly why have come out but there is growing speculation of why President Trump has decided to go this route. I know the president is very involved with his administration and various offices in D.C. I pray that our president makes the best decisions for our country and not because of personal reasons.”
Mark Welch, 60, West Chester Twp.
“I think it’s a really good thing because you know, I don’t know what his agenda was but he seemed like he was starting to play politics with the FBI and we’ve all heard, this person that’s running the top police agency in world basically has got to be unbiased and non-partisan. If we go back a year and take snapshots of this event or that event it’s like this guy is pandering to the Democrats or he’s pandering to the Republicans. I just think it was getting a little crazy… Was the way it was done the right way to do it, I don’t know. Was it kind of a necessary thing, do I think it’s a good thing? Yes.”
Todd Hall, 36, Butler County GOP executive chairman, West Chester Twp.:
“The FBI is an exceptional law enforcement agency and should rise above controversy. Comey made several questionable calls on important matters over the last year that created a great deal of public concern. The President obviously believed that he needed to restore some credibility to the FBI and exercised his lawful right to do so.”
Jocelyn Bucaro, Butler County Democratic Party executive chairwoman, 41, Liberty Twp.
“(President) Donald Trump and (Attorney General) Jeff Sessions’ transparent attempt to manipulate the ongoing FBI investigation of the Trump campaign is a dangerous threat to our democracy and the rule of law. The only thing more disturbing is the loud silence from Republicans, like (U.S. Rep.) Warren Davidson and (U.S. Sen.) Rob Portman. Only an independent investigation can restore public trust in the rule of law, and all patriotic Americans, including Republicans, should be shouting that from the rooftops.”
Miles Michael, 39 of Cincinnati, who was working in Middletown
”It seems like he’s (President Trump) covering himself that (the firing of James Comey) will end any investigation of any Russian ties. Seems like a reaction.”
Councilwoman Janell Smith, 50, of Huber Heights
“I do support the President in his decision, because we all need to be held accountable. This is what it’s all about and why I got into politics — to hold people accountable. The GOP in general, we are very happy that we have a commander in chief that will be responsible and stand up to people and put a stop to what’s going on. The FBI director, his job is to be impartial. To me, it was almost like he was in job security mode, a self-preservation mode. Hopefully we can get someone in there who will be fair on both sides of the aisle.”
Dave Lippert, 62, of West Chester Twp., president of Hamilton Caster
“I’m in the group that’s surprised if only in the timing, but maybe it’s hard to see these things coming if you’re the one doing the firing. It’s clear this is a guy that’s been under the microscope all the way back into the presidential campaign late last year. All sorts of issues that were very partisan, very political, and drew a lot of fire from pretty much all sides.
“He had to make what appear to be some tought calls on some things, some investigations. Was the FBI going to investigate, weren’t they, how far would they dig, all that kind of stuff. From what we saw in the news media and what snippets we got from … the outside looking in, it’s not a total surprise that he got fired. In a way, when you kind of tick off everybody, you’re in that position.”
“What I read about the firing is that it was predicated on the whole idea that he’s ineffective at leading the FBI and you need an effective leader. I can’t speak to knowing enough to say ‘Yeah, President Trump was absolutely right or he wasn’t.’ I don’t know. I’m not sure any of us can really know that on the outside, so we have to go with ‘Is the president A) a good judge of character, B) knowing a lot more than we know, able to make decision like this?’”
Louise North, 68, of Hamilton
“I think it (the firing) is great, because I just think he should have been fired a long time ago. He didn’t do nothing. I didn’t like him (Comey).” As for Trump: “I like him. I think he could be a good president.” (Unlike North, many others at a Butler County shopping center said they didn’t know enough about the situation, or Comey, or the recent news, to comment about it.)
Thaddeus Hoffmeister, 46, professor, University of Dayton School of Law
“The thing that surprises me is the whole timing of it – based on the grounds they give.
“The timing doesn’t seem to mesh together, from what they are concerned about. It makes me worry that maybe we need an outside party looking at what the FBI director was looking at.”
He said the firing may be a protective measure as Comey reportedly recently asked for more resources for the investigation into possible Russian ties with the Trump campaign.
A special prosecutor may be the only option “if they really want to bring some sunshine into what was going on. I don’t know how much people will have in who they appoint” to replace Comey “if they don’t appoint a special prosecutor.”
Jeff Kaiser, 53, Springfield
The President made the right decision in order to accept the recommendation of his other staff, Kaiser said. He agreed the FBI Director was too political. “That was six to eight months ago,” Kaiser said.
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.