In the time since the recent FBI raid of former President Donald Trump’s southern Florida property known as Mar-a-Lago, the former president himself and numerous allies of his have expressed stark antagonism towards personnel at the U.S. Justice Department.
“This Break In was a sneak attack on democracy (our Republic!),” Trump claimed in a recent post on his social media platform called Truth Social, casting what happened in existential terms. Trump also repeatedly suggested — without supporting evidence — FBI agents may have planted evidence at his Florida property, where he’s largely resided since leaving office. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) began selling shirts that said “Defund the FBI,” and she alongside others in the former president’s corner are keeping that rhetoric going as circumstances develop. Former Vice President Mike Pence is taking a different approach.
“I also want to remind my fellow Republicans we can hold the attorney general accountable for the decision that he made without attacking the rank-and-file law enforcement personnel at the FBI,” Pence told onlookers at a Wednesday event in New Hampshire. Those sorts of rhetorical attacks could have real-world consequences. In a recent incident, a man named Ricky Shiffer attempted to breach a Cincinnati office of the FBI, where he fired a nail gun before fleeing and engaging in an hours-long stand-off with police, who shot and killed him after he reportedly fired at officers. Shiffer was carrying a rifle. As best can be told, he was an active user of Truth Social and posted calls to violence in the aftermath of the Mar-a-Lago raid, which was tied to a probe into the handling of documents from Trump’s administration. Docs from some of the highest levels of classification in the U.S. government were recovered from Mar-a-Lago.
“The Republican Party is the party of law and order. Our party stands with the men and women who serve on the thin blue line at the federal, state and local level. And these attacks on the FBI must stop,” Pence more directly added Wednesday. “Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police. And the truth of the matter is, we need to get to the bottom of what happened. We need to let the facts play out.”
In an interview with Fox conducted after the Mar-a-Lago raid, Trump indicated he was supposedly open to somehow assisting with bringing down tensions, but he also seemingly excused some of the behavior from his supporters. “The country is in a very dangerous position. There is tremendous anger, like I’ve never seen before, over all of the scams, and this new one—years of scams and witch hunts, and now this,” Trump said in the interview. “If there is anything we can do to help, I, and my people, would certainly be willing to do that.”