Republicans spent a year attacking Democrats saying that they wanted to "defund the police," following a series of police-involved shootings of unarmed people of color. Yet, in wake of the search warrant executed at Donald Trump's golf club in Palm Beach, Republicans have adopted their own "Defund the FBI" message.
Mere months ahead of the midterm elections, Axios reported that the slogan once called "radical" by the GOP is now being adopted. Fringe Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) even went so far as to develop a line of merchandise on her campaign website with the slogan.
Strategists told Axios that the slogan could cause problems for the GOP in November, but the problem is that it could also become a litmus test for Trump's support of Republican candidates.
Already, GOP candidates are rushing to demand cuts in funding to law enforcement. Dan Bolduc and Bruce Fenton, the top Republican senate candidates for the New Hampshire Senate race, prompted significantly reduced spending for the Department of Homeland Security and abolishing the FBI altogether.
The report cited Florida congressional Republican Anthony Sabatini, who tweeted last week that FBI agents should be arrested in Florida. He didn't cite a crime they'd be charged with, but he still wants them to be arrested. There are a number of federal crimes the FBI handles like terrorism, cyber crimes, organized crime, digital child exploitation and human trafficking, to name a few.
In an interview with CNN, Sabatini still maintained that he would demand their arrest on sight.
\u201cIt\u2019s time for us in the Florida Legislature to call an emergency legislative session & amend our laws regarding federal agencies\n\nSever all ties with DOJ immediately\n\nAny FBI agent conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State should be arrested upon sight\u201d— Rep. Anthony Sabatini (@Rep. Anthony Sabatini) 1660006346
New Hampshire congressional candidate Tim Baxter advocated for the FBI to be abolished while fellow candidate Karoline Leavitt called to "investigate, litigate and incarcerate them." She also didn't cite the crimes committed.
In Ohio, congressional candidate J.R. Majewski shows on his website, "I will fight to abolish all unconstitutional three letter agencies," which includes the CIA.
North Carolina's Sandy Smith also wants to abolish the FBI.
\u201cThe Democrats have now weaponized the FBI and are now targeting innocent Americans with politically-motivated harassment including parents at school board meetings, President Trump & members of Congress.\n\nWe should (also comment with other options):\u201d— Sandy Smith NC (@Sandy Smith NC) 1660182265
“The antidote has to be not one more damn penny for this administrative state that has been weaponized against our people in a very fascist way,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). But when asked to elaborate on his defund the police message he changed his idea, saying that he doesn't want to defund them.
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) Tweeted, “The FBI has proven time and again that it is corrupt to the core. At what point do we abolish the Bureau and start over?”
Sandy Smith, the GOP nominee in North Carolina’s 1st District, tweeted a poll with "Abolish the FBI" as one of the options.
Bo Hines, North Carolina's Trump-endorsed candidate for Congress, explained, "Well, I mean, we have to." But later when pressed on it by reporters, his spokesperson confirmed he "fully supports" the law enforcement agencies he said should be defunded.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) even promoted legislation Monday to eliminate the Espionage Act, because it was something the DOJ cited in their search warrant of Mar-a-Lago.
There are many more examples, and Democrats are already fundraising off of the GOP's attacks.
"While the other side wants to defund the FBI, we want to fund our kids' future," Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said last week.
Axios revealed that Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) called the whole "defund the FBI" message "unserious" and that it made the GOP look bad. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) called the message "a mistake." Even far-right Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters isn't willing to go that far either, instead, saying he'd seek to reform but not defund the FBI.