In the wake of the FBI's raid on Donald Trump's Palm Beach resort this Tuesday, his base has rallied around him, including some who could be potential presidential contenders in 2024.
Trump said Monday that his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida was being "raided" by FBI agents in what he called an act of "prosecutorial misconduct."
As Politico points out, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin all put out statements calling the raid "unprecedented," a "weaponization" of federal agencies, and politically motivated.
But former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, had a different take. Speaking to SiriusXM’s Julie Mason, Christie said the raid was "fair game" if the “factual underpinnings” that led to the FBI’s search are true.
South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott was also unwilling to wholeheartedly defend Trump, saying Americans need to let the situation “play out” and see what happens.
But according to Shiree Verdone, co-chair of both of Trump’s Arizona campaigns, the raids may have breathed new life into support for Trump in areas where it may have been diminishing.
“I had gotten calls from people last night that were getting kind of tired of Trump, not so much they wanted to move on from him, but more that they were sick of the drama. Well, that’s over,” Verdone said. “Just talking to people now, they are irate, and they are ready to support Trump. Even some people who were not full Trumpers, but are so upset with what happened [FBI search]. It seems this is really going to elevate Trump.”
The FBI declined to comment on whether the search was happening or what it might be for, nor did Trump give any indication of why federal agents were at his home.
But multiple media outlets cited sources close to the investigation as saying that agents were conducting a court-authorized search related to the potential mishandling of classified documents that had been sent to Mar-a-Lago.
The National Archives said in February it had recovered 15 boxes of documents from Trump's Florida estate, which the Washington Post reported included highly classified texts, taken with him when he left Washington following his reelection defeat.
The documents and mementos -- which also included correspondence from ex-US president Barack Obama -- should by law have been turned over at the end of Trump's presidency but instead ended up at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
The recovery of the boxes raised questions about Trump's adherence to presidential records laws enacted after the 1970s Watergate scandal that require Oval Office occupants to preserve records related to administration activity.
The Archives had requested then that the Justice Department open a probe into Trump's practices.
With additional reporting by AFP