Former vice president Mike Pence on Wednesday denounced the attacks on federal law enforcement that many of his Republican colleagues have unleashed since the FBI searched former president Donald Trump’s Florida home last week.
In the week since Mr Trump announced that federal agents had searched his home pursuant to a warrant issued as part of a long-running probe into whether he stole classified documents and retained them despite multiple requests for their return, numerous members of Congress allied with the ex-president have called for the FBI to have its funding cut by Congress in retaliation for the raid.
Mr Pence has also criticised the Justice Department for searching Mr Trump’s home and has echoed Mr Trump’s claim that the probe into the former president is politically motivated.
But in remarks at St Anselm College in New Hampshire, Mr Pence said it is possible to criticise the investigation into Mr Trump without attacking law enforcement.
“I also want to remind my fellow Republicans, we can hold the attorney general accountable for the decision he made without attacking the rank-and-file law enforcement personnel at the FBI,” he said.
“The Republican Party is the party of law and order. Our party stands with the men and women who stand on the thin blue line at the federal and state and local level, and these attacks on the FBI must stop. Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police,” he added.
Despite calls for calm from Mr Pence and other GOP figures, federal law enforcement agencies have reported record numbers of threats against the FBI since the search of Mr Trump’s home, with FBI Director Chris Wray calling the attacks on his colleagues “deplorable and dangerous”.
Last week, an Ohio man was shot and killed by police after he tried to enter the FBI’s Cincinnati field office armed with a nail gun and a semiautomatic rifle.