A company of FBI agents has issued a forceful statement sharply criticizing threats and calls for violence against agents and other law enforcement within the wake of the seizure of documents at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home Monday.
“Calls for violence against law enforcement are unacceptable, and needs to be condemned by all leaders,” said the statement issued Thursday by Brian O’Hare, president of the FBI Agents Association. The organization represents about 14,000 current and past special agents.
“This is just not a partisan or political issue. It’s a matter of public safety and basic decency,” the statement added.
“FBI Special Agents are dedicated members of the law enforcement community who put their lives on the road on daily basis to guard the general public from criminals and terrorists. Special Agents and their families should never be threatened with violence, including for doing their jobs,” the statement noted. “The threats made recently contribute to an environment where some have, or will, accept violence against law enforcement as appropriate. It is just not.”
Special Agents and their families should never be threatened. with violence, including for doing their jobs. The threats made recently contribute to an environment where some have, or will, accept violence against law enforcement as appropriate. It is just not.
— FBI Agents Association (@FBIAgentsAssoc) August 11, 2022
Extremists erupted online, posting calls for a civil war and for Americans to “lock and cargo” after Trump and plenty of Republican lawmakers used incendiary language to attack the FBI and the Department of Justice over the search of Trump’s Florida residence. The search warrant reportedly sought classified documents, including some that will have been related to nuclear weapons.
Trump has called what appears to be a lawful search a “raid,” a “siege,” “lawless” and “corrupt.” He has also baselessly claimed that FBI agents “planted” evidence in his home.
House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) insisted, with none evidence, on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday that those that searched Trump’s home were “rogue” agents. In actual fact, Attorney General Merrick Garland said in an announcement later that day that he had “personally approved” the FBI’s decision to hunt a search warrant for Trump’s home, so the agents were simply doing their job.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) tweeted Monday: “We must destroy the FBI.”
The FBI raid on Trump’s home tells us one thing.
Failure is just not an option.
We must destroy the FBI.
We must save America.
I stand with Donald J. Trump.
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) August 9, 2022
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) tweeted that the search of Trump’s home was the “rogue behavior of communist countries” and the sort of thing that happens “during civil war.”
Monica Crowley, a former public affairs official in Trump’s Treasury Department, warned on Twitter: “That is it. That is the hill to die on.”
That is it.
That is the hill to die on.
— Monica Crowley (@MonicaCrowley) August 8, 2022
Joe Kent, a U.S. House candidate in Washington state who’s been endorsed by Trump, said on former White House strategist Steve Bannon’s podcast Tuesday: “We’re at war.”
Some web sites have even discussed tactics for attacking the Capitol and talked of constructing gallows and trapping lawmakers in tunnels under the constructing, The Recent York Times reported.
The incendiary rhetoric has already apparently triggered serious violence.
Gunman Ricky Shiffer, armed with an AR-15 rifle and a nail gun, was killed Thursday in a shootout with police after he fired on an FBI office in Cincinnati, officials said. He had boasted of links to the violent right-wing Oath Keepers, supporters of Trump who were amongst those that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, which also occurred within the wake of violent rhetoric.
“Republican politicians and media figures are fiddling with fire,” Rachel Kleinfeld, a political violence analyst on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Time magazine.
“Acceptance of violence for political ends in America is approaching the degrees seen in Northern Ireland at the peak of their Troubles.… fanning the flames of violence through incendiary language is the worst possible thing they may very well be doing,” she warned.