After learning that the FBI executed a search warrant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, the former president’s Republican allies responded with apoplexy. Some in the GOP, however, went further than others.
USA Today’s Rex Huppke, with obvious sarcasm, explained in his latest column:
As news that the FBI had executed a search warrant on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort home broke, supporters of the former president reacted in the kind of calm, measured tone we’ve come to expect from the MAGA movement.... Investigating Trump is cause to, as Rep. [Marjorie Taylor] Greene, an actual elected member of Congress, tweeted Monday night: “DEFUND THE FBI!”
At face value, it’s easy to dismiss such rhetoric, especially from a fringe lawmaker who doesn’t even have any committee assignments. Greene makes bizarre comments all the time, and it’s generally best not to take them too seriously.
But two years after Republicans invested enormous time and energy into tying Democrats to the “defund the police” phrase, it’s notable that Greene isn’t the only GOP official raising the prospect of defunding federal law enforcement.
As we discussed yesterday, Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, the current chair of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, appeared last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and also explored some of the goals he’d like to see his party prioritize if they’re in the majority next year — particularly when it comes to law enforcement.
“There are things you can do,” the Arizonan said, reflecting on Congress’ power. Biggs added, “You start defunding some of these bad agencies. The FBI. The DOJ.”
Obviously, two Republican lawmakers do not a pattern make, and their position has not been endorsed by anyone in the GOP leadership. That said, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke at a conservative gathering two weeks ago and said a Republican majority would “withhold money” from prosecutors who fail to “uphold the law” in line with the party’s expectations.
The would-be House speaker didn’t specify whether he was referring to federal or state prosecutors, but given the context, and Congress’ role in appropriating funds for the Justice Department, McCarthy appeared to be referring to federal law enforcement.
Not surprisingly, conservative media figures aligned with the GOP are picking up on this and talking openly about a Republican congressional majority “defunding“ the FBI.
I’d be surprised if this became a campaign issue in the midterm elections on par with the “defund the police” talk from two years ago, but at some point soon, GOP leaders are probably going to hear some pointed questions about this, and I’ll look forward to hearing their answers.