After Donald Trump’s Florida residence was hit with a raid by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Monday night, hypocritical demands for defunding and “destroying” the FBI erupted from Republicans, despite their years-long complaints about the left’s calls for defunding law enforcement.
The raid was conducted at Mar-a-Lago for potentially missing classified documents that Trump reportedly brought to the residence, which could be in violation of presidential archival laws. Trump and his camp loudly bemoaned what they claimed was the political nature of the raid, though officials have raised concerns about Trump’s repeated insolence when it comes to official document preservation, saying that it kills transparency and threatens democracy itself.
Far right Trump devotees soon piled on. “DEFUND THE FBI!” wrote fascist Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Georgia). “The GOP majority must defund all forms of tyranny throughout Biden’s government,” tweeted Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado), tagging the FBI. They blamed President Joe Biden’s administration for the raid, though the FBI is currently headed by Trump appointee Chris Wray.
Others on the right began openly calling for violence amounting to a civil war in response to the raid.
Progressive lawmaker Rep. Cori Bush (D-Missouri) shot back at the right, saying, “‘Defund the police’ is what many grieving communities called for to demilitarize policing in the wake of racialized police killings. These white supremacists are just trying to advance white supremacist control and circumvent accountability.”
It’s ironic that the far right would suddenly be on board with defunding a law enforcement agency just because Trump’s residence was raided, after they have railed against the left’s legitimate calls to dismantle law enforcement for years. While the “tyranny” that Boebert refers to does truly exist against left-wing protesters and foreign leaders, the right’s continual disinformation campaigns paint the right as the perpetual victims, even as they benefit from the same things that they claim are oppressing them.
For instance, it’s true that the FBI tyrannizes the public, and its abolishment would go a long way in decreasing state-sanctioned violence. But insofar as the FBI terrorizes the public, it acts to enforce the right’s repressive vision of the U.S.; the FBI is, in many ways, a right-wing agency, with its ranks full of far right militants and white supremacists and with a sordid history of killing and suppressing civil rights and left-wing activists.
In other words, the right has no true reason to complain about the FBI. Instead, the right is likely angling to politicize any sort of legitimate inquiry into Trump’s alleged crimes and throw doubt into any and all government agencies, as they have done for years.
Indeed, after the raid, many Republicans took the chance to say that both the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) — agencies with missions that have virtually no overlap — should be defunded. On Monday night, referring to plans in the Inflation Reduction Act to boost the IRS in hopes of going after wealthy tax cheats, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) tweeted, “After today’s raid on Mar A Lago what do you think the left plans to use those 87,000 new IRS agents for?”
It’s unclear what Rubio thinks the IRS will do, but perhaps just the suggestion that the IRS would also go after Republicans is enough for right-wingers to support defunding the agency. In reality, the right wing is drumming up support to continue hacking away at the IRS’s budget, as they have done for years, in order to ensure that the agency only has the resources to audit poor taxpayers while lacking the capacity to audit wealthy and corporate tax cheats.