In case you were confused about this reference during James Comey’s testimony yesterday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sarah Pulliam Bailey explains at the Washington Post:
The reference between Comey and King goes back to an outburst from King Henry II about the Archbishop of Canterbury. The story passed down through history is that Henry II, who was frustrated by Becket, cried out, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”
Becket was then murdered by four knights.
In his book “Medieval England 1042-1228,” historian Toby Purser of the University of Northampton writes that it’s unclear whether Henry II uttered those infamous words, but the king said something that set the knights off to Canterbury Cathedral to kill Becket.
“At the third blow he fell on his knees and elbows, offering himself a living victim, and saying in a low voice, ‘For the Name of Jesus and the protection of the Church I am ready to embrace death,’ ” clerk of Cambridge Edward Grim is quoted as saying. Becket is now viewed as a saint and martyr by both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.
Henry II had appointed Becket, his lord chancellor, to the position of Archbishop of Canterbury, thinking Becket would be more loyal to him than the pope. (At the time, the kingdom was still Catholic, and the archbishop was the leader of the church in England.) But the two faced off over church-state disagreements.
Read the entire piece here.