Former President Donald Trump’s call for Congress to defund the FBI and Justice Department amid mounting legal pressure is creating another headache for the GOP leaders on Capitol Hill as it undermines the message that Republicans are tough on crime.
Since President Joe Biden took office, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been championing a message that the Biden administration and Democrats are weak on crime, contrasting that with the GOP’s stance on crime.
However, Trump, backed by his supporters in the House, may force McConnell to change his tune now that the former President faces prosecution has led to Republicans lending their voices to threats to cut funding for law enforcement agencies.
Trump’s calls to defund law enforcement have got the support of House GOP leadership, like House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
On Sunday (April 2), Jordan shared his support for the idea of cutting funding to the Department of Justice and the FBI.
Besides being the Judiciary Committee Chairman. Jordan also holds plenty of influence because Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) relied on the Ohioan Republican’s support to win the Speaker gavels after 15 votes.
As a result, McCarthy has given Jordan plenty of room to pressure prosecutors and investigators to lay off Trump, a move strategists warn could be politically dangerous.
Steven S. Smith, a professor of political science at Washington University in St. Louis, asserted GOP lawmakers’ decision to take on the opposing view of their traditional stance would only make them appear “radical and foolish” to the voters they desperately need to appeal to: “suburbanites and exurban voters.”