All it took was one itty-bitty FBI search at Mar-a-Lago for prominent conservatives to start calling for defunding law enforcement.
The calls have been to defund the FBI, the Department of Justice, and, well, really anyone who helped aid in the search of Donald Trump’s Florida home Monday. The search, executed by warrant signed by a federal judge, was purportedly regarding the mishandling of classified documents. Trump said the FBI broke into the safe he keeps on the Palm Beach property.
Widely seen as an unprecedented event in American politics, it has left many in the GOP apoplectic.
Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert released a video stating that she’s “pissed.” She described the actions as “totally un-American” and “Gestapo crap" and added “the department of injustice needs to be cleaned out.” Tagging the FBI in a tweet, she wrote, “the GOP majority must defund all forms of tyranny throughout Biden’s government.”
Fringe-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene unsurprisingly also got in on the action. She has tweeted an upside-down American flag—a symbol traditionally associated with distress—and wrote “DEFUND THE FBI!”
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced his plans to investigate the person he believes to be behind the search.
“Attorney General (Merrick) Garland: preserve your documents and clear your calendar,” he wrote.
To be fair though, the support of law enforcement for many of these figures—some of which, like Boebert, have past (negative) experience with law enforcement—sways with the political winds. At a recent talk at CPAC, Rep. Andy Biggs announced he wanted to defund the FBI and DOJ because of their treatment of January 6 defendants. He also got into the fun on Monday, tweeting, “the only thing missing from the unprecedented FBI raid at President Trump’s home is Muammar Gaddafi’s sunglasses and cap on Joe Biden.”
Predictably, lesser-known figures involved in right-wing politics enthusiastically joined in. Anthony Sabatini, a member of the Florida House of Representatives, called for Florida to “sever all ties with DOJ immediately.”
“Any FBI agent conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State should be arrested upon sight,” he added.
The FBI director whose head many of these figures are calling for is Christopher A. Wray, a lifelong Republican and Trump appointee who stepped in after the then-president dismissed James Comey.
Many conservative figures have derided and openly mocked similar calls from left-wing activists to defund law enforcement and have gone out of their way to support the sector. “Back the Blue” is a routine political cry from this crowd. Greene has been vocal in her support of cops and has posted several pro-policing memes on her social media page. On her website, Boebert has a section entitled “Back the Blue” in which she writes she stands “up for public safety agencies.”
“In short, I back the blue, and I will never apologize for it,” it reads. “I reject policies that seek to deprive the American people of their safety and liberty.”
Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.