Former President Donald Trump has pulled a dramatic about-face to hail “great” FBI agents in the wake of the search of his Mar-a-Lago home — and boasts that he has “always had their backs.”
He also claimed in a Truth Social post on Saturday that FBI agents “like,” even “love” him “a lot.”
Trump attacked the FBI as seditious, abusive, criminal and “sleazy” after agents hauled out about 20 boxes of White House material from his Florida home, including 11 sets of classified information. Those records should have been turned over to the National Archives when Trump’s term ended, according to the Presidential Records Act.
In days that followed the search, Trump baselessly called it a “sneak attack” and a “raid,” a “siege,” and “corrupt.” He also claimed FBI agents “planted” evidence in his home.
Now, Trump claims agents are “furious at FBI leadership” for the “political weaponization against a president (me).”
They “don’t like being ’used’ by people they do not agree with, or respect,” he wrote in the post. He went on to add that agents are not “thrilled with the leadership” of the Department of Justice.
There’s currently no evidence to support any of Trump’s claims. Trump chose current FBI Director Christopher Wray in 2017 after firing former head James Comey amid the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
It’s not clear why Trump suddenly moderated his tone on federal law enforcement. It may have to bring his social media slightly more in line with his rally speeches backing policing. Attacks on the FBI by Trump and his supporters following the Mar-a-Lago search have also come under increasing criticism.
Federal authorities warned this month of a spike in threats to law enforcement. A joint intelligence bulletin released by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security advised federal officials to remain vigilant and stay informed about domestic violent extremists.
Ricky Shiffer, armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, was killed by police earlier this month after attempting to breach an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Shiffer frequently posted violent messages on Trump’s Truth Social platform and appeared to be triggered by Trump’s verbal attacks against the FBI.
More recently, a Pennsylvania man was arrested and charged with threatening to kill FBI agents.
The FBI Agents Association, which represents 14,000 current and past special agents, issued a statement earlier this month. “Calls for violence against law enforcement are unacceptable and should be condemned by all leaders,” according to the association’s statement.
“This is not a partisan or political issue. It is a matter of public safety and basic decency,” the statement added.
Larry Cosme, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, expressed alarm in a recent interview with The Washington Post over GOP warnings to Americans that federal agents are “coming for you.”
The “rank-and-file officers on the street and agents, they are career employees that… cherish the Constitution like the average American,” Cosme said. “For them to be attacked... is shameful and disgusting.”
Wray staunchly defended the bureau and its agents in an interview with The Washington Post published Saturday.
He confided in a weekly video call Wednesday with senior FBI officials that he was “pissed” about the attacks and threats of violence, a law enforcement source told The Post.
“All the pundits” think “what we do looks easy, and they have no shortage of opinions about how we should do it,” Wary told a class of graduating FBI agents in Quantico, Virginia, last week, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“Follow the facts wherever they lead,” Wray added, “no matter who doesn’t like it.”