A 'mistake': GOP strategists warn party’s latest battle cry sends conflicting message as midterms approach
FBI Director Christopher Wray. (Screenshot)

Republican leaders and lawmakers wasted no time voicing their concerns and disapproval of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) search at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. In fact, some have even gone so far as to call for the FBI to be defunded.

Now, there are concerns about how their rhetoric could be sending a conflicting message to Republican voters. Speaking to Axios, multiple Republican strategists have weighed in with their take on the situation.

Alex Conant, a founding partner and Republican strategist at Firehouse Strategies, warned that lawmakers and candidates need to be careful about alienating pro-law enforcement voters.

"Crime has been a winning issue for Republicans, and they need to be careful not to jeopardize that," Conant told Axios.

Ken Spain, a founding partner for Narrative Strategies and former Republican campaign official, also warned the anti-FBI rhetoric "might score political points in the handful of remaining GOP primaries, but it will serve as a textbook case study in how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the general election.”

Republicans' latest attack on the FBI follows their criticism of progressive calls to "defund the police," a slogan they previously used to their advantage to "attack Democrats. "Democratic operatives have warned lawmakers to steer clear of anti-law enforcement rhetoric ahead of the midterm elections," Axios notes.

As longstanding critics of the "defund the police" movement, there are concerns about how the hypocrisy could backfire on Republicans in the long run. National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) spokesperson Michael McAdams told Axios, "Every voter knows Democrats are the party of defund the police. Americans are experiencing record violent crime as a direct of Democrats’ efforts to vilify law enforcement and push pro-criminal policies like cashless bail," said McAdams.

Some Republican lawmakers have even expressed concern about calls to defund the FBI. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) told Axios: "The Republican message should not be 'defund the FBI,' I think [it's a] mistake."

Axios also notes that some Trump-aligned Republicans in key battleground states have expressed apprehension about the political shift against law enforcement.