Authored by John Ransom via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
The recent raid by the FBI on former President Donald Trump’s residence has solidified Trump’s hold on the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, according to conservatives and analysts.
The raid of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s house in Palm Beach, Florida, was aimed at preventing the former president from gaining office again, they told The Epoch Times.
If anything, however, the raid has had the opposite effect, they said, as the belief grows that Trump will announce a new presidential run sooner rather than later.
Far from providing a smoking gun that opponents of Trump may have sought to bar the former president from office, the raid has demonstrated that Trump can never be reconciled to partisan special interests in Washington that have a lock on government, thus ensuring that Trump most certainly will run, said some.
In the end, either Trump or the “deep state”—a group of powerful bureaucrats who Trump and others say really control the shots in Washington—will prevail: That’s the message conservatives should take from the raid, said two people interviewed who are the most familiar with Trump’s thinking, Ken Blackwell and Sebastian Gorka, although neither men claimed to represent the views of the former president.
Raid Has Made Trump More Powerful
“Without doubt, President Trump is more powerful now after the illegal Mar-a-Lago raid than he has ever been politically,” former deputy presidential assistant under Trump, Sebastian Gorka, who is one of the former president’s fiercest allies, told The Epoch Times.
Gorka, 51, who hosts a syndicated radio show distributed by the Salem Network, estimated that Trump’s base of voters has grown from 75 million voters to over 100 million voters since the billionaire developer’s departure from the White House, just a year and a half ago.
“The real issue is how the perception of Trump has changed in the eyes of millions and millions of people,” added Gorka, who said that the FBI raid has hastened Trump’s popularity, not diminished it.
Similarly, Ken Blackwell, who served on the transition team for Trump in 2016 and is involved in the Center for Election Integrity at the America First Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank founded by former Trump officials, noted that Trump’s popularity has always tracked higher each year, in part, because of the people who oppose him.
Trump, Blackwell noted, added to GOP presidential vote totals in 2020, gaining a net of just over 20 million more votes since 2012 for the Republicans, calling the growth “extraordinary.”
“When you look at the number of battleground states that Trump won over the years, it’s a clear indication that there’s a lot left in the tank for Trump,” Blackwell said.
GOP Hits Back
The echo of the FBI banging on the front door of Mar-a-Lago, the Trump-owned resort that served as the second White House for Trump while president, had not yet died before politicos not known for defending Trump, were, in fact, defending the former president over the raid.
The staff for Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) promptly responded to an inquiry by The Epoch Times for comment on the raid with a copy of a letter to FBI director Christopher Wray demanding answers about the raid, in one such closing of ranks amongst conservatives.
“Senator Rubio began the oversight process yesterday with a letter to FBI Director Wray demanding answers and an in-person meeting,” Dan Holler, Rubio’s deputy chief of staff, told The Epoch Times in an email on Aug. 11.
Holler said that such action was the “[b]eginning of a long process,” adding that Rubio will head up the Senate Intelligence Committee next year if the GOP takes the majority in the 2022 Senate elections.
Rubio’s prompt rejection of the raid, said Blackwell and Gorka, was indicative of the widespread rejection by conservatives and Republicans of the several pretexts which Department of Justice (DOJ) sources put forward anonymously for the raid via media outlets like the Washington Post, before the warrant was unsealed on Aug. 12. The warrant showed that Trump was being investigated over potential breaches to three U.S. laws relating to the handling of official records, including of defense information and records used in federal investigations.
Trump, for his part, argues that all the records were declassified, adding that he and his team had been fully cooperating with investigators, making such an extraordinary search unnecessary. Others agree.
“The President of the United States has the power to declassify any record he wants, so it’s pretextual legal nonsense for the Biden Justice Department to pretend President Trump broke any criminal statute by taking 15 boxes of his records with him when he left,” Mike Davis of the Article III Project (A3P), which promotes constitutionalist judges and the rule of law, told The Epoch Times.
“Former presidents have government-paid staff and offices, Secret Service protection, security clearances, and secure facilities to store classified records, so there’s no legitimate concern that President Trump’s records could have gotten into the wrong hands,” Davis said in rejecting the official justification for the raid.
Likewise, Florida’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis, who has thus far been mentioned as one of the likeliest Trump opponents for the GOP nomination in 2024, was quick to denounce the FBI raid.
Responding to The Epoch Times without delay via email, Delanie Bomar, press secretary to DeSantis, pointed to a previous statement made by DeSantis via Twitter very shortly after the raid.
“The raid of [Mar-a-Lago] is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the Regime’s political opponents, while people like Hunter Biden get treated with kid gloves,” said DeSantis on Aug. 8.
Even Vice President Mike Pence, who has been at loggerheads with Trump since just after the 2020 election, took to Twitter on Aug. 9 to publicly ask high government officials in the Biden administration to immediately “give a full accounting to the American people,” about why they conducted an “unprecedented search of the personal residence” of the former president.
The totality of the actions has been to solidify Trump amongst voters and activists as a reformer determined to take on entrenched special interests within government on behalf of the GOP, said those interviewed by The Epoch Times.
“Attorney General Merrick Garland may just have succeeded in unifying the Republican Party behind Donald Trump,” Davis at A3P told The Epoch Times of the 2024 presidential nomination.
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