Former President Donald Trump's main potential rivals for the 2024 Republican Party nomination have stood up to him over the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago estate, claiming that he is the victim of political persecution by the rogue Biden and the Justice Department, Axios writes.
At a time when Trump's power over the Republican Party showed signs of waning due to the summer committee hearings on Jan. 6 and the rise of a popular alternative in Florida, in the form of Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential Republican candidate in the 2024 election, suddenly the field around Trump began to strengthen.
The expression of support from the likes of DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence and other potential presidential contenders in 2024 underscores that ambitious Republicans must walk a tightrope in an era in which Trump remains the dominant force in the party.
They would like to remove Trump from the battlefield of 2024, but they also recognize that they must join the hype to attract Trump's base, which has been re-energized by new allegations of wrongdoing by the deep state.
By backing Trump on an issue that has largely defined his political trajectory, his party rivals are inadvertently giving him a run for his seat.
DeSantis tweeted hours after the FBI operation, criticizing the raid as another escalation of federal agencies' use of guns against regime political opponents.
Pence expressed deep concern about the unprecedented search and used it as an opportunity to reconsider his claims that the FBI acted for "political reasons" during the Trump administration.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who exercised his freedom of action against his former boss, including openly attacking Trump-backed candidates such as Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania's Senate primary, tweeted that the execution of the search warrant against the former president was dangerous.
Senator Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, called the search an unprecedented assault on the ... rule of law and demanded the removal of FBI Director Christopher Wray and the impeachment or resignation of Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Senator Rick Scott, Republican from Florida, made similar comments, saying that Garland and Wray no longer deserve to remain in office unless they immediately explain the purpose and rationale behind the search.
Other potential 2024 Republican candidates who have issued vehement tweets or statements defending Trump and attacking the FBI include Senator Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas, Marco Rubio from Florida and Tom Cotton from Arctic State, former Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.
Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican, said he spoke with Trump Tuesday afternoon and is now convinced - more than ever - that the former president will run again.
Eric Trump said for the first time that he thinks his father should run again.
The aftermath of the search has revived deep-rooted right-wing beliefs that the Justice Department, FBI and government are corrupt and politically motivated, which has united conservatives around Trump in a way not seen since he left office.