After former President Donald Trump announced Monday that FBI agents had searched his Mar-a-Lago residence, apparently seeking classified documents he failed to hand back to the government, "supporters of the former president reacted in the kind of calm, measured tone we've come to expect from the MAGA movement," Rex Huppke deadpanned at USA Today.
A couple dozen Trump supporters gathered outside Mar-a-Lago on Monday night to vent their anger about the raid. Prominent Republican lawmakers and officials complained about "politicization" of the Justice Department. There were many mentions of Hunter Biden and Hillary Clinton, and a lot of comparing the FBI's execution of a search warrant to various dictatorships, totalitarian regimes, and "Banana Republics." Several conservatives called for dismantling the FBI.
"The FBI must be legally and formally dissolved," tweeted Candace Owens. Russ Vought, a former Trump White House official, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago "is a wake-up call for those in Congress to be able to use the tools at their disposal to defund the FBI, to ask the right questions, and to prepare for a Church-style commission next year if given a Republican majority to dismantle the FBI into a thousand bits." Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was more succinct.
Govs. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) both decried what they called the "weaponization" of the federal government against Trump. And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) combined those thoughts, saying the Justice Department has "reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization" and vowing "immediate oversight of this department" if Republicans win back the House.
"Many of the Republicans aghast at the FBI raid had supported FBI probes of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server in 2016," The Washington Post notes. But tastes change, Dan Rather suggested.
Nicole Wallace, an official in the George W. Bush White House, suggested that the self-evidence of the FBI's search should temper the ire of Trump supporters. "Everyone close to Trump knows he's a liar," she told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. "They're acutely aware of his penchant for mishandling classified information" and destroying National Archives–bound documents, dating back to the earliest days of his presidency.