Right-wing media outlets and Trump-allied personalities are attacking former Vice President Mike Pence for critiquing the calls to defund the FBI after agents carried out a warranted search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida earlier this month.
On August 17, Pence gave a speech at a political event in New Hampshire during which he told Republicans that “attacks on the FBI must stop” and defended the agency from GOP calls to defund it after the recent Mar-a-Lago search. Pence said, “Our party stands with the men and women who serve on the thin blue line at the federal and state and local level, and these attacks on the F.B.I. must stop.” Pence also said he would consider testifying before the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, if he was summoned. (The committee has been a consistent target of right-wing media’s ire.)
Pence’s comments, which were in opposition to the narrative Trump and his allies have been building, weren’t unpredictable as he and Trump have had a shaky relationship since the Capitol riot. On the day of the riot, Trump had attacked Pence in a tweet and his supporters openly called for him to be murdered.
Since the Mar-a-Lago search, right-wing media have made a concerted effort to push narratives in Trump's favor in the midst of allegations that he had wrongfully taken classified documents from the White House. When Pence made these comments, some right-wing individuals predictably attacked him as well:
- On the August 17 episode of The Ingraham Angle, guest and Fox News star Tucker Carlson attacked Pence for giving “dumb speeches about the FBI when he has no idea what he is talking about,” calling it “super embarrassing” and suggesting Pence was “detached from reality.”
- Host Laura Ingraham further criticized Pence on the August 18 episode of her show, suggesting that Pence thinks “nobody should criticize the FBI.”
- Radio host Mark Levin said that he “would encourage” Pence to consider that the FBI had spies at Mar-a-Lago before making “robotic rote comments” in defense of the agency.
- War Room: Pandemic host Steve Bannon labeled Pence "a disgusting coward" and a “gutless simp” for criticizing GOP’s reaction over the FBI search.
- Former Newsmax host Steve Cortes tweeted: “Mike Pence is precisely the kind of controlled opposition the Regime supports. Flowery language and useless bromides…while we lose our country. No way, Mike. We know what time it is in America.”
- BlazeTV host Steve Deace tweeted: “Mike Pence is the guy who leads them right to your front door to round you up, but it’s okay because he prayed about it first and has a perpetually solemn/forlorn look on his face.”
- Conservative podcast host Michael Berry wrote: “Mike Pence is a 1962 Republican. By golly, he loves his government & all its tyranny.”