After the former FBI director James Comey likened President Trump to a mob boss in a TV interview, Republicans said Monday they would defend the president without fear of appearing to pile on the country's former top law enforcement official.

"If someone attacks you, you have a right to defend yourself," said Kayleigh McEnany, the Republican National Committee spokesperson. "So yes, we will defend the president who is being relentlessly attacked in a tell-all book."

Comey, who says he was fired last year after he refused to pledge his loyalty to the president, told ABC News's George Stephanopoulos in a interview broadcast Sunday that Trump is "morally unfit to be president." Comey was promoting his new book, "A Higher Loyalty," which was to be published Tuesday.

In the interview, Comey said his decision to alert Congress less than two weeks before the 2016 presidential election of additional emails under investigation by the FBI was influenced by his belief that Hillary Clinton would defeat Trump. In her own book published last year, Clinton said Comey's decision cost her the presidency.

Reactions to Comey's interview ー and the statements in his book ー have been split, largely along party lines.

"It was very sad," McEnany said in an interview on Cheddar. "What i saw was someone trying to rehabilitate his image."

In a tweet Sunday night after the ABC broadcast, President Obama's former chief strategist David Axelrod said he questions the timing of Comey's book coming as it does at a critical phase in the special counsel'sinvestigation of the Trump campaign's possible dealings with Russia. "But I have no doubt about its brilliance when it comes to book sales," said Axelrod. "Maybe he should have called it Higher Royalties?

Advance sales have pushed "A Higher Loyalty" to the top of Amazon's Best Sellers list. The book's publisher, Macmillan Publishers' Flatiron Books, was printing 850,000 copies in anticipation of high demand, CNN reported.

For full interview, click here.