"A fresh start will serve the FBI": Republicans provide cover for Donald Trump

Accusing Democrats of hypocrisy and asking for a fresh state seem to be popular approaches for the GOP

By Matthew Rozsa

Published May 10, 2017 7:32PM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Many Republicans are joining President Donald Trump and his White House in the unsavory task of defending his recent firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in a press statement which included comments he made on the Senate floor on Wednesday, argued that "what we have now, Mr. President, is our Democratic colleagues complaining about the removal of an FBI Director whom they themselves repeatedly and sharply criticized, by a man, Rod Rosenstein, whom they repeatedly and effusively praised — when Mr. Rosenstein recommended Mr. Comey’s removal for many of the very reasons they have complained about."

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas echoed these thoughts in a tweet which claimed that Democrats "were against Comey before they were for him."

Meanwhile Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky accused the Democrats of "hypocrisy and fake outrage," arguing that they "had been calling for months for the firing of Comey!"

The other tack preferred by Trump's Republican defenders has been to claim that it was time for a "fresh start" or that, at the very least, Trump's decision won't impair the FBI's ability to properly function.

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, for example, said in a statement that "given the recent controversies surrounding the director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well." Similarly, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine argued that "any suggestion that today's announcement is somehow an effort to stop the FBI's investigation of Russia's attempt to influence the election last fall is misplaced. The President did not fire the entire FBI; he fired the director."

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida also downplayed the magnitude of Trump's firing of Comey, telling a reporter that the FBI "is staffed by thousands of highly-qualified professionals committed to their work, without interference from politics, one way or another, and the president I am sure will nominate someone of the highest caliber and the Senate will do the work to confirm him."


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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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