After years defending the continued militarization of law enforcement agencies across the United States, Republican lawmakers appeared to have a change of heart Monday after learning the FBI executed a search at the Florida estate of former President Donald Trump. Faced with the possibility that the “good guys” aren’t necessarily on their side, prominent members of the party that made backing the blue a central tenet of its political platform began spouting rhetoric that belied their professed allegiance to the “rule of law.”
“The GOP majority must defund all forms of tyranny throughout Biden’s government,” prominent right-wing figurehead Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) wrote on Twitter, tagging the official FBI account. She later added: “Weaponizing the FBI to raid President Trump’s home makes Watergate look like nothing.” Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), meanwhile, embraced the GOP’s favored doomsday approach. “We must destroy the FBI,” he tweeted. “We must save America.”
The FBI raid on Trump's home tells us one thing.
Failure is not an option.
We must destroy the FBI.
We must save America.
I stand with Donald J. Trump.
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) August 9, 2022
As the primary law enforcement agency of the United States government whose self-described mission is “to uphold the rule of law,” the Department of Justice and its associated agencies are essentially America’s police force. Any efforts to defund or dismantle these agencies would is akin to liberal activists’ calls to reduce or restructure funding for local police forces — a concept Trump regularly used as a scare tactic to push voters away from Democrats. Yet, as is to be expected, irony is an art that remains lost on the most fervent of right-wing Republicans.
No voice in the “Defund the DOJ” crowd rang louder than that of professional conspiracy theorist and devoted Trump sycophant Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who spent most of Monday evening having a public meltdown on Twitter, calling for the impeachment of President Joe Biden, accusing Democrats of “radicalizing our federal law enforcement to take political enemies out,” and posting an image of an upside-down American flag followed by an all-caps rallying cry: “DEFUND THE FBI!”
DEFUND THE FBI!
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) August 9, 2022
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) August 8, 2022
Greene later appeared on Real America’s Voice, calling the Mar-a-Lago raid “the path that leads to direct and intense communism” and doubled down on her Twitter comments suggesting the DOJ’s move was politically motivated. “What we should be asking the Department of Justice is, ‘When are you going to stop this political persecution?'” she said. “If they won’t stop this ridiculous witch hunt on President Trump and his former administration and staff and supporters, then what has to happen is, in a Republican majority, we have to defund and make cuts in the Department of Justice. And we can do that in how many employees they’re allowed to have. We can say that funds can only go towards prosecution of sex trafficking or human trafficking or drugs coming across our state lines — different crimes like that, serious crimes — and then completely cut out of their budget the ability to persecute Republicans.”
Marjorie Taylor Greene says that if Republicans take control of Congress, they should defund the DOJ and only giving them money for "prosecution of sex trafficking or human trafficking or drugs coming across our state lines" pic.twitter.com/HU9yhB16nn
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 8, 2022
The most extreme Republican lawmakers have long been wary of the FBI, which lies at the heart of the conspiracy that the “Deep State” is out to get Trump and anyone who supports him. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), one of the lawmakers allegedly involved in the rally that preceded the riot at the Capitol, discussed using the Holman Rule to defund the FBI and the DOJ during an appearance at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference. He was on the case again Monday night. “Congress must look into the viability of our federal law enforcement agencies that abuse their authorities for political purposes,” he wrote, adding that the “only thing missing” from the raid “is Muammar Gaddafi’s sunglasses and cap on Joe Biden,” the implication being that an FBI helmed by a director Trump appointed carrying out a warrant approved by a federal judge means President Biden is somehow turning America into a third-world dictatorship.
The party’s leadership responded similarly. Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stayed silent on the issue of defunding the DOJ, but issuing a veiled threat to Attorney General Merrick Garland. “The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization,” McCarthy wrote on Twitter. “Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar.”
Attorney General Garland: preserve your documents and clear your calendar. pic.twitter.com/dStAjnwbAT
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) August 9, 2022
Republicans’ reaction to the Mar-a-Lago search echoed the evening of insanity that played out on Fox News, where members of Trump’s family painted the former president as a persecuted martyr for the conservative cause. On right-wing forums and websites, the discussion of the day’s events took a predictably more radical turn, with Trump supporters vowing retribution and violence for the act against their beloved leader. On social media, right-wingers claimed “thousands” of supporters were descending upon Palm Beach to show their support for the embattled former president. But, as Monday night drew to a close, the only IRL response from members of the MAGA community was a pitiful gathering of protestors waving Trump flags and blasting generic America-first anthems from stars and stripes-adorned pickup trucks — a fitting tribute for a man who, somehow, continues to tarnish his already sullen single-term presidency years after leaving office.