Update: Updated at 3:30 p.m. with additional reaction.
Update: Updated at 3:30 p.m. with additional reaction.
WASHINGTON — Top Texas Republican lawmakers harshly criticized the FBI raid of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home Monday night while Democrats defended the unprecedented federal action targeting the former president.
Many echoed Trump’s official statement, calling the raid a “weaponization” of the Department of Justice by Democrats.
The search was tied to allegations that Trump and his administration had mishandled White House records, including some that may contain classified information. The National Archives and Records Administration said in February that it sought to obtain 15 boxes of records that were improperly removed, including some marked as “classified national security information.”
The National Archives also indicated in February it was in contact with both the DOJ and Trump’s representatives regarding the missing documents.
The search came just two days after Trump appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, where he again declared he won the 2020 election and said, “I’m always being persecuted.”
In a lengthy tweet Sen. Ted. Cruz called the raid “corrupt” and “an abuse of power.”
“What Nixon tried to do, Biden has now implemented: The Biden Admin has fully weaponized DOJ & FBI to target their political enemies,” Cruz said in the tweet.
1/x The FBI raiding Donald Trump is unprecedented.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 9, 2022
It is corrupt & an abuse of power.
What Nixon tried to do, Biden has now implemented: The Biden Admin has fully weaponized DOJ & FBI to target their political enemies.
And with 87K new IRS agents, they’re coming for YOU too.
Cruz, along with many other GOP lawmakers, deflected by arguing the same officials have not raided the homes of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton or Hunter Biden, the son of current Democrat President Joe Biden. Cruz also wrote Tuesday on Twitter that the government must “RELEASE THE WARRANT NOW. The American people deserve to see it.”
The DOJ reviewed business dealings tied to Clinton in 2020, but did not find enough evidence to recommend a formal criminal investigation, according to CNN. Hunter Biden is under investigation for alleged tax violations.
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy said in a tweet that if Republicans gain control of the House after the midterm elections, the party will conduct an investigation into the Department of Justice. He also told U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to “preserve your documents and clear your schedule.”
Texas Republicans echoed McCarthy’s sentiments.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, in a statement first published by conservative website Daily Caller, said Trump had the authority to declassify documents and that the raid was similar to those conducted by “megalomaniacal dictators” in “third-world countries.”
He urged Republicans to avoid violence.
“To Republicans and Libertarians of good heart and conscience: Do not let this lawless government provoke violence,” Gohmert wrote in the statement. “Conservatives need to stay peaceful while verbally proclaiming the incredible abuses of these dictator wannabes.”
This is an absolutely incredible move by the #DOJ to pursue, harass and now invade the former President’s home, who had authority to declassify documents. As we have seen with many #J6 defendants, the process is the punishment. pic.twitter.com/w3RqxLRDf1— Louie Gohmert (@replouiegohmert) August 9, 2022
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called the move “Nixonian” and said it was an extreme use by one administration to punish a political rival.
“This weaponizes power to squelch dissent,” Abbott said in a tweet. “Such abuses must have limits.”
“They’re fully committed to weaponizing the DOJ to try anything to stop Donald Trump because they know he will hold them accountable,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a tweet.
Amarillo Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson tweeted Monday that “Tonight the FBI officially became the enemy of the people!!!,” and Terrell Republican Rep. Lance Gooden wrote that “This shouldn’t happen in the USA.”
“We cannot stand for this type of weaponization of our Justice Department,” Gooden tweeted of the raid. “Accountability is needed when we take back the House.”
Rep. Brian Babin, R-Woodville, said that “Every allegation made in the last 5.5 years against Trump has been proven false.”
“If a radical Democrat regime can do this to a former president, then they will do this to all of us,” Babin tweeted.
Texas state Rep. Brian Harrison, who represents Ellis County south of Dallas and served as chief of staff at the Department of Health and Human Services under Trump, said in a statement that “the precedent [Monday’s raid] sets should horrify every American regardless of party affiliation.”
On the other side of the aisle, Texas Democrats attacked the Republican rhetoric.
“You know what the complete bulls--- is – the right wingers who egged on a dangerous mob to ransack the Capitol & try to overturn an election are now whining about Trump’s FBI raid,” Democrat Fort Worth Rep. Marc Veasey said in a tweet. “It is clear that Trump is dangerous to our democracy & never should hold elected office again.”
You know what the complete bullsh*t is - the right wingers who egged on a dangerous mob to ransack the Capitol & try to overturn an election are now whining about Trump’s FBI raid. It is clear that Trump is dangerous to our democracy & never should hold elected office again. https://t.co/W7KZVF9uvM— Marc Veasey (@MarcVeasey) August 9, 2022
Former Housing and Urban Development secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro said on Twitter that “Trump is finding out that he may not be above the law after all. He should be held accountable like anyone else.” Castro served in Democratic President Barack Obama’s Cabinet.
Trump is finding out that he may not be above the law after all. He should be held accountable like anyone else. https://t.co/wIJOyIj1pg— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) August 8, 2022
El Paso Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar also commented, calling the Republican party “lawless.”
“The Republican Party believes their authoritarian leader should be above the law,” Escobar wrote in a tweet. “Trump was so right when he said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose a single voter. Because it’s a cult. A lawless one at that.”
The quiet part out loud.— Veronica Escobar (@vgescobar) August 9, 2022
The Republican Party believes their authoritarian leader should be above the law.
Trump was so right when he said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose a single voter.
Because it's a cult.
A lawless one at that. https://t.co/ViqW9PeP4r
Correction: An earlier version of this article had the wrong year of Trump’s last campaign, which was 2020.