White House expressed confidence in James Comey up until last week

The president gave the ousted FBI director "a chance," said a spokeswoman.

May 10, 2017, 6:05 PM

— -- White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that President Donald Trump's faith in James Comey had been waning since he took office in January.

Trump fired Comey from his position as director of the FBI Tuesday after receiving letters recommending he do so from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

"The president had lost confidence in director Comey," Sanders said. "And frankly he'd been considering letting director Comey go since the day he was elected."

But since Trump took office, there had been little indication that he's been harboring distrust for Comey.

On January 15, five days before Trump took office, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” that the incoming president had confidence in Comey.

“We’ve enjoyed our relationship with him and find him to extraordinarily competent,” Priebus said.

A month and a half into the new presidency, on March 7, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reiterated that the president supported Comey during a briefing: “I have no reason to believe he doesn’t, he hasn’t suggested that to me.”

Last week, Trump tweeted that Comey had given Hillary Clinton a “free pass for many bad deeds.”

When asked during a press briefing the next day whether Trump was still comfortable with Comey serving in the administration, Spicer doubled down, saying “the president has confidence in the director.”

After Sanders said Trump had been doubting Comey’s ability since day one, she said he doesn’t regret pulling the trigger earlier.

“I think the president wanted to give director Comey a chance, but I feel he made the right decision,” Sanders said.

Vice President Mike Pence echoed Huckabee Sanders during a surprise appearance on Capitol Hill this morning, and made a point to pin the decision on Sessions and Rosenstein.

"President Trump made the right decision at the right time to accept the recommendation of the deputy attorney general and the attorney general, to ask for the termination,” Pence said. “To support the termination of the FBI was simply the right decision.”

Trump himself also chimed in today during an Oval Office meeting with Henry Kissinger. When asked why he fired Comey, Trump said, “He wasn't doing a good job. Very simply. He was not doing a good job."

Related Topics

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events