James Comey's A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership (Flatiron Books), being released tomorrow, promises to be the second major political book of the year, similar in some ways to Fire & Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff (Holt), which was published in January. While Wolff's book was based on interviews and conversations with administration insiders, this one is in part an insider's account of aspects of the administration. It's also drawn the pre-pub ire of President Trump, who apparently hasn't learned that repeated, vicious attacks on books actually help sell them. And while the Fire & Fury phenomenon was a surprise and the publisher scrambled to meet demand, this release has been well-organized, with a first printing of 850,000 copies, more than five times as many as Fire & Fury's first printing.
Although the book is a memoir and traces his law enforcement career, in A Higher Loyalty, the former FBI director writes at length about the current administration and his meetings with President Trump before he was fired last May, saying, "This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values. His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty." He compares Trump with Mafia dons. Last night in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's 20/20, he described Trump as a "serial liar" who treats women like "meat" and is "morally unfit to be president."
Already Trump has attacked Comey and the book. Late last week, he tweeted that Comey is "a proven LEAKER & LIAR" and "a weak and untruthful slime ball," following early reviews of the book. Trump loyalists and right-wing media have joined in the attacks, which continued over the weekend. One of the president's tweets yesterday read: "Slippery James Comey, a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!), will go down as the WORST FBI Director in history, by far!"
Flatiron's own publicity campaign for the book is extensive. Last week, the publisher lifted the book's press embargo, resulting in several widely quoted reviews. Today USA Today is publishing an interview with Comey. Tomorrow and later this week, the author will be on a range of shows, including Fresh Air, Good Morning America and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Tonight Kramerbooks in Washington, D.C., will be open at midnight to release the book. Comey starts a book tour with an appearance on Wednesday at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York City, and then travels to Chicago, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami, Los Angeles and Kansas City. In the U.K., pub date for A Higher Loyalty has been moved up to tomorrow from Thursday, and it's going into a second printing, the Bookseller reported.
There's also an audiobook version of A Higher Loyalty, which Comey narrates. In February, he famously tweeted, "Lordy, this time there will be a tape. Audio book almost finished."
Yesterday, as his 20/20 interview was about to air and the White House continued to attack him, Comey tweeted: "My book is about ethical leadership & draws on stories from my life & lessons I learned from others. 3 presidents are in my book: 2 help illustrate the values at the heart of ethical leadership; 1 serves as a counterpoint. I hope folks read the whole thing and find it useful."