Former Vice President Mike Pence defended the FBI over the raid of former President Donald Trump’s private residence at Mar-a-Lago, leading to significant backlash from conservatives who have long criticized Pence as being an “establishment elite” and a “RINO.”
Pence stood up for the FBI against criticism from conservatives while giving a speech at an event at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire on Wednesday — though the former vice president did express some concern that the Biden administration had politicized the FBI to seek its own political agenda before he began his defense of the bureau.
“I also want to remind my fellow Republicans, we can hold the attorney general accountable for the decision he made without attacking the rank-and-file law enforcement personnel at the FBI,” Pence said during the Politics & Eggs event.
The former vice president went on to try to compare the calls from conservatives to defund the FBI to the left’s calls to defund the police, ignoring the distinct difference between the right’s legitimate concerns about the politicized and weaponized federal agency and the left’s attacks on police over non-existent “systemic racism” without actual evidence to back up their critiques.
“The Republican Party is the party of law and order,” Pence said. “Our party stands with the men and women who stand on the thin blue line at the federal and state and local level, and these attacks on the FBI must stop. Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.”
Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police but Attorney General Garland and the DOJ must give a full accounting to the American people as to why the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump was taken and he must do so now. pic.twitter.com/etn26SM5IU
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) August 17, 2022
While conservatives have called for the dismantling and defunding of the FBI, they have outright condemned any acts of violence perpetrated against the bureau, including the recent attack on the FBI offices in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday. The incident began when a man attempted to breach the offices with a nail gun, before fleeing the scene.
Police later tried to apprehend the suspect following an hours-long standoff, which ultimately ended in a shootout in which the man died. The suspect was later identified as Ricky Walter Shiffer, who had been present during the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Some saw Pence’s comments as a part of the lead up to a possible presidential campaign for the Republican Party nomination in 2024.
Regardless of the reason for his remarks, conservatives called the former vice president out for standing up for the FBI when it had been weaponized against members of his own party.
Political strategist Steve Bannon called Pence “a disgusting coward” and a “mindless, gutless simp” while responding to his comments during his show “War Room” on the Real America’s Voice network.
Political strategist Steve Bannon called former Vice President Mike Pence "a disgusting coward" for saying that Republicans should stop lashing out at the FBI over the raid at former President Donald Trump's Florida home. https://t.co/UWR1tofrwj pic.twitter.com/Oau33npHXe
— Newsmax (@newsmax) August 18, 2022
Fox News host Tucker Carlson roasted the former vice president on “The Ingraham Angle,” stating: “He should fire anyone who is telling him to go to New Hampshire and run for President and give dumb speeches about the FBI when he has no idea what he is talking about… If you’re that detached from reality, you need to take a break and think deeply about yourself and the world.”
Tucker Carlson Joins @IngrahamAngle To React To Mike Pence Whining About People Criticizing The FBI
Tucker: "He should fire anyone who is telling him to go to New Hampshire and run for President and give dumb speeches about the FBI when he has no idea what he is talking about." pic.twitter.com/p2MxdGUMzu
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) August 18, 2022
Senior editor at Human Events and former Navy Intel officer Jack Posobiec appeared on “War Room” and blasted Pence, saying that Pence and other RINOs “want to go back to the old party, they want to go back to the old things, they wanna go back to the party of losers.”
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— Real America's Voice (RAV) (@RealAmVoice) August 18, 2022