In this era of instant mass communication, ambitious politicians find it much more challenging to sit on the sidelines in the wake of an international lead story with electoral impact. Considering the fact that the FBI raid on former President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach is at a minimum, terrible optics, nobody would have been surprised if potential 2024 Republican Primary candidates remained neutral until the results and findings of the raid were made public.
Instead, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Trump’s former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and other prominent members of the Republican Party are evidently thinking in short term benefit and seizing the opportunity this story offers to broadcast their loyalty to Trump. One notable exception is Senator Tim Scott, who showed a more open-minded approach yet still took the chance to criticize the FBI. First, lets take a look at the comments from DeSantis, Cruz and Haley, below:
The raid of MAL is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the Regime’s political opponents, while people like Hunter Biden get treated with kid gloves. Now the Regime is getting another 87k IRS agents to wield against its adversaries? Banana Republic.— Ron DeSantis (@RonDeSantisFL) August 9, 2022
There needs to be serious oversight for DOJ and FBI.— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) August 9, 2022
They must be held accountable! pic.twitter.com/mdHdB5XPFQ
It is deeply concerning how politicized the DOJ and the FBI have become under President Biden.— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) August 9, 2022
They cannot continue to be a partisan attack dog for Democrats! pic.twitter.com/gZcgKhUcWW
Almost 24 hours after a former president’s home is raided, and the FBI, Justice Department, and White House have zero explanation. Does that mean this sort of thing is now business as usual? That can never be allowed to happen. America is waiting for answers.— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) August 9, 2022
Tim Scott was More measured in his morning commentary with CBS than his social media posts:
.@SenatorTimScott says the American public needs to let the FBI’s search and DOJ investigation of former Pres. Trump “play out” before jumping to conclusions — adding that this could raise more questions about whether the agency is “doing their job apolitical.” pic.twitter.com/pugU4PcKYe— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) August 9, 2022
The FBI raid on Mar-A-Lago was without question shocking, stunning, and unprecedented.— Tim Scott (@votetimscott) August 9, 2022
All Americans regardless of political stripes should be deeply concerned by their actions.
If they can target a former president, they can target me and you.https://t.co/6JjBgkB37e
FORMER 2016 Candidate Chris Christie Says Trump’s Estate was Fair Game for Raid
One Republican who didn’t condemn the siege was former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Christie told Julie Mason’s radio show on Tuesday that while he has some “concerns” about the FBI’s search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, he believes looking through Trump’s personal safe was “fair game.” Christie, who has seen his star power in the party significantly diminished since his unsuccessful 2016 presidential bid, added:
“I trust that it had to have been and I hope that they understood the implications, both from a policy perspective for the Justice Department and politically, of doing something really as unprecedented as raiding the home or office of a former president…So I have concerns this morning about it but I also am not going to jump to any conclusions, because I know I don’t know all the facts about it. This is not something you should be doing willy-nilly. This is something that should be backed up by grave concerns about the conduct of the subject of the search warrant.” Christie said, noting that a federal judge would have had to sign off on the search warrant.
CONCLUSION: GOP STARS STILL HAVE ROOM TO PIVOT
Don’t expect these tones and comments to last if damning evidence is unearthed as a result of the raid. Each aforementioned Republican leader knows that the majority of the American public won’t begrudge the FBI if they ultimately show that major federal laws were broken and charge former President Trump. Should such evidence go public, current Trump apologists can appease both moderate Republicans and Trump’s supporters in the party by saying that they don’t agree with tactics that the FBI used to obtain the evidence, but can’t continue to support Trump due to FBI charges and/or Trump’s disregard for federal law.