Hometowns speak to us in unique ways.
In the case of the recently fired FBI director, James Comey, the portrait that emerged in conversations in the streets and taverns of Allendale, the northern Bergen County hamlet where he grew up, conflicts starkly with the harsh assessment that President Trump offered after dismissing him.
Trump called Comey a “showboat” and a “grandstander.” In Allendale, however, residents who knew Comey, 56 — including his father — described a man who always had a basic sense of right and wrong and regularly attended Mass at the local Catholic church with his parents, two younger brothers and an older sister.
“Anyone from Allendale that knows the family and grew up around him knows that he is a good person and has an honest character and has the utmost integrity,” said Patty Corn, who runs an online women’s clothing business and was a classmate of Comey’s at Northern Highlands Regional High School. “That doesn’t leave you.”
“There’s nothing phony about him,” added Molly Kissel Patrick, a real estate agent who graduated from Northern Highlands several years after Comey. “He’s real.”
Comey’s father turned Trump’s harsh opinion of his son against him, calling the president’s credibility into question.
“I never was crazy about Trump,” J. Brien Comey, 86, a Republican and a former borough councilman, said in an interview. “I’m convinced that he’s nuts. I thought he belonged in an institution. He was crazy before he became president. Now he’s really crazy.”