House Republicans in swing districts are so beholden to Trump they're not publicly opposing his pleas to defund law enforcement

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House Republicans in swing districts are so beholden to Trump they're not publicly opposing his pleas to defund law enforcement
REUTERS/Mike Cassese
  • After his arraignment, Trump called on GOP members of Congress to defund law enforcement.
  • Following this, Punchbowl News reached out to 18 vulnerable House Republicans in swing districts.
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House Republicans in swing districts are not coming out against President Donald Trump's pleas to defund law enforcement.

The Manhattan District Court indicted Trump in late March. The 45th president was later arraigned in Manhattan and charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records. One day after his arraignment, Trump took to Truth Social in an all-caps tirade to express his desire to defund law enforcement.

"REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS SHOULD DEFUND THE DOJ AND THE FBI UNTIL THEY COME TO THEIR SENSES," Trump wrote. "THE DEMOCRATS HAVE TOTALLY WEAPONIZED LAW ENFORCEMENT IN OUR COUNTRY AND ARE VICIOUSLY USING THIS ABUSE OF POWER TO INTERFERE WITH OUR ALREADY UNDER SIEGE ELECTIONS!"

Following the former president's plea on social media, political outlet Punchbowl News asked the 18 Republican representatives in districts where President Joe Biden won in 2020 for comment. Only three of the 18 representatives in swing districts drew a line in the sand and distanced themselves from Trump's comments: Reps. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, Marc Molinaro, and Young Kim.

In recent years, Republican politicians and pundits have hammered Democrats after some in the party called to "defund the police."

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It would not be entirely novel for the Democrats to poach the strategy for their own devices. After former North Carolina Republican House candidate Bo Hines declared in an interview he wanted to defund the FBI, the House Majority PAC, a Democratic group, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee each released media trying to highlight the opinion.

The 15 GOP representatives in swing districts who have yet to distance themselves from Trump's rhetoric could face difficulties courting independent voters in future elections, many of whom are opposed to defunding law enforcement.

According to a YouGov/CBS News poll from early April 2022, 50% of independents surveyed said that a candidate calling to defund the FBI would make them less likely to vote for them.

That statistic doesn't bode well for swing district Republicans, especially while the GOP holds such a slim majority in the House and needs to hold on to every seat it can in 2024 if the party wants to maintain control.

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