‘Defund the FBI’—the MAGA Right’s Hypocritical New Slogan
Two years ago, in congressional and state elections, Republican candidates accused Democrats of supporting proposals to “defund” or “abolish” police. Actually, although anti-police slogans were widespread on social media and among protesters, very few Democratic officeholders supported these ideas. But Republicans didn’t let those facts get in the way. They smeared the whole Democratic party as an agent of crime and chaos.
Monday’s FBI search of Mar-a-Lago—reportedly in pursuit of classified documents that former President Donald Trump may have illegally kept when he left office—has turned this issue upside down. Now that law enforcement has targeted Trump, conservatives are denouncing the FBI. Some want to defund the bureau; others are demanding its complete abolition. Here are some of the more egregious reversals.
1. Defunding is a gateway to abolition. In 2020, activists on the left wanted cities to shift some money from police budgets to social services. They argued that mental health counselors and other non-police workers could better handle situations previously assigned to cops. Conservatives accused the left of trying to abolish police altogether. Now some of the same conservatives are calling for abolition of the FBI.
So we're already morphed from "reform the police" to "defund the police" to "disband the police."
It's gonna be so fun for criminals next time a Democrat is elected president.
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) June 5, 2020
Abolish the FBI.
— Liz Wheeler (@Liz_Wheeler) August 8, 2022
2. Defunding is an attack on all law enforcement. In 2020, when progressives criticized police departments in certain cities, conservatives accused them of rejecting law enforcement as a whole. Two years later, the defund-and-abolish movement has indeed moved on to federal law enforcement—but now the people leading the movement are on the right, not the left.
The Democrats want to abolish law enforcement so they can continue to demolish America and get away with breaking the law.
— Terrence K. Williams (@w_terrence) June 10, 2020
What happened to President Trump today is disgraceful and Un-American! The FBI is now officially a corrupt & criminal organization.
Defund The FBI, Actually the FBI should be dissolved! Raise your hand if you Agree!
— Terrence K. Williams (@w_terrence) August 9, 2022
3. Defunding law enforcement leads to more crime. Republicans often made this point when the context was urban crime. But when the context is possible lawbreaking by Trump or his associates, they no longer show much interest in deterrence.
Man Shot in Downtown Memphis Just Off Beale Street. This is What Happens When You Elect "Defund the Police" Democrats. https://t.co/xAJzBjm0AJ
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) June 12, 2022
The FBI has been weaponized. Defund and Dismantle.
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) August 9, 2022
4. Defunding law enforcement leads to anarchy. In 2020, critics of certain police departments argued that the departments were unsalvageable. In these cities, the critics proposed to disband the departments and reinvent them. Opponents on the right said this idea was nuts and would produce chaos. But now the right is making the same case against the FBI.
It’s a sad and scary day in America when we have citizens calling to defund and dismantle the police. This dangerous call to action would NOT make our communities safer. It would only weaken law & order and cause far more chaos than we’ve already seen.
— Rep. Jeff Duncan (@RepJeffDuncan) June 8, 2020
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?
— Rep. Jeff Duncan (@RepJeffDuncan) August 9, 2022
5. Don’t defund or abolish law enforcement over a few bad apples. In 2020, conservatives rejected broad-brush accusations against police departments, noting that most cops were honest. But in the conflict between Trump and the FBI, that point has been abandoned.
Defunding the police is idiotic. We need strong law enforcement to protect liberty & the vast majority of officers perform their jobs admirably & deserve praise. But many of us have proposed common sense reforms to address overreach for years & meeting strong resistance.
— Matt Rinaldi (@MattRinaldiTX) June 8, 2020
Abolish the FBI.
— Matt Rinaldi (@MattRinaldiTX) August 9, 2022
6. Democrats are the party of defunding. For two years, conservatives branded Democrats as the party of defunding and abolition. Now they’re adopting the same language.
Stacey Abrams sits on the board of a group that supports defunding and abolishing police. https://t.co/KmBwhpamOO
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) June 23, 2022
I'm struggling to form an opinion about what happened. I'd like to know why the FBI raided. But I do think given the general distrust of the FBI, raiding the former President's home all but assures they'll be in line for defunding right behind the IRS.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) August 8, 2022
I have said for years that @AOC is a gift to Republicans. She is deluded by publications like Vanity Fair to believe in her own popularity— in reality, she is a cancerous cell to the Democrat Party.
We should always encourage her insane proclamations like, “DEFUND THE POLICE!”. https://t.co/oAzsJLSKEg
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) November 11, 2020
The FBI must be legally and formally dissolved.
What happened to President Trump is positively stunning and a mark of unchecked government power.
I no longer recognize the country I live in. Left or right, we must all come together to fight this evil.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) August 9, 2022
7. Defunding law enforcement is bad only when it’s for Black Lives Matter. But apparently when the defunding is for Trump and MAGA, it’s virtuous and urgent.
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) February 14, 2022
I urge MAGA and conservatives to be outraged. We have to defend the country and the Constitution from this coup. But it starts with channeling the anger into firing every socialist at every level of government. Get the power back and use the power to defund the attack on America.
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) August 8, 2022
8. Don’t let Democrats run away from their record. When President Joe Biden and other Democrats have made it clear that they oppose defunding police, Republicans have accused them of trying to shift positions. But the same Republicans are now blatantly shifting their own positions.
Is the entire Democrat Party going to act like they didn’t just defund and demonize the police for the last 2 years? #SOTU
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) March 2, 2022
The GOP majority must defund all forms of tyranny throughout Biden’s government. @FBI
— Rep. Lauren Boebert (@RepBoebert) August 9, 2022
9. Republicans would never let anyone defund or dismantle law enforcement. Unless, of course, the people who propose to defund or dismantle law enforcement are Republicans.
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) September 14, 2020
I will support a complete dismantling and elimination of the democrat brown shirts known as the FBI. This is too much for our republic to withstand @charliekirk11 @JackPosobiec @kelliwardaz @KariLake @andybiggs4az @GOPLeader @DonaldJTrumpJr
— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) August 8, 2022
President Trump will never defund our great police heroes!
— ACT For America (@ACTforAmerica) July 17, 2020
DEFUND THE FBI!
— ACT For America (@ACTforAmerica) August 9, 2022
10. How dare Democrats accuse Republicans of defunding law enforcement. These accusations are a slimy attempt at deflection, says convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza, who now advocates abolition of the FBI.
The Left knows how unpopular "defund the police" is.
So now Jen Psaki says Republicans – not Democrats – are doing it.https://t.co/CIg4sKDlkb
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) June 29, 2021
It should now be a central plank of the Republican platform in both 2022 and 2024 that we will abolish the FBI, clean out the agency from top to bottom, and rebuild it from the ground up #AbolishtheFBI
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) August 8, 2022
These are just a few of the shameless backflips by Republican lawmakers and conservative media figures since the Mar-a-Lago search. I found these on Twitter; there are more on TV, and others will follow.
If the trend continues, defunding law enforcement may turn out to be more popular among Republican politicians than it is among Democrats. Americans who care about law and order should vote accordingly.