“This is about the DC ruling class getting revenge”
Bay State conservatives responded with furor to the news that the FBI conducted a raid of former-President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday evening in Palm Beach, Florida.
“The radical Left is going after you… next!” MassGOP head Jim Lyons tweeted.
In a statement through the party, Lyons called the move “par for the course for the modern-day FBI” and said that Americans know the raid “is not about President Trump.”
“This is about President Trump’s victory in 2016, this is about the voters that made that happen, and the Washington elite’s fear that it might happen again. This is about the DC ruling class getting revenge, all because an outsider like him dared to speak to the heart of our nation, dared to show them a different path forward, and dared to stick up for the American worker… President Trump’s biggest sin against the DC establishment was that Americans responded to an outsider’s pro-USA message with love, appreciation, and most of all — their votes.”
The Washington Post reported that FBI agents were conducting a court-authorized search as part of an investigation into whether the former president took classified documents to Florida instead of the National Archives when he left the White House.
Lyons, a hard-right conservative who has helped facilitate the Massachusetts Republican Party’s transformation from formidable foe in Commonwealth politics to an uncomfortable coalition full of unelectable Trump diehards, has overseen significant losses in the legislature since taking over as chair.
Geoff Diehl, the frontrunner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, echoed Lyons’ outrage.
“I’m shocked & appalled by the political weaponization of our justice system on display with the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago,” Diehl’s campaign posted on social media. “This unprecedented action is an affront to our democracy and a threat to freedom-loving Americans. Democrats will stop at nothing to keep their grip on power.”
John Paul Moran, a former North Shore Republican congressional nominee who refers to Joe Biden as “Dementia Joe,” tweeted, “We do not live in free country.”
“The Deep State fired its first shot,” he said in a separate post. “Banana Republic USA. Much much much more to come. Buckle Up.”
The Deep State fired its first shot. Banana Republic USA. Much much much more to come. Buckle Up.
— John Paul Moran, Founder & CEO, GOUSA (@JohnPaul4USA) August 9, 2022
Another fringe 2020 congressional candidate went with an apocalyptic angle as well.
“We have been on life support for quite some time, but today the plug was pulled,” wrote Tracy Lovvorn, a QAnon-adjacent conservative who was the GOP nominee for a Central Mass House seat in 2020.
“My friends, take note. This may not be a simple bitter end, BUT indeed a glorious re-birth and beginning,” Lovvorn’s post concludes.
(Both Moran and Lovvorn won more than a third of the vote in 2020. Their combined vote total was close to 300,000.)
News of the raid first broke when Trump released a statement decrying the FBI’s actions as a political attack.
“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said in a press release.
“I stood up to America’s bureaucratic corruption, I restored power to the people, and truly delivered for our Country, like we have never seen before,” Trump wrote. “The establishment hated it. Now, as they watch my endorsed candidates win big victories, and see my dominance in all polls, they are trying to stop me, and the Republican Party, once more. The lawlessness, political persecution, and Witch Hunt must be exposed and stopped.”
Many view Trump as likely to run for president again in 2024. Polls have shown him well ahead in hypothetical primaries, and he has appeared increasingly warm to the idea. The former president would be a clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination, and not just in deep-red places.
While Massachusetts has become almost unwinnable for Republicans in general elections, primaries have been great for Bay State conservatives. Trump easily won the Massachusetts primary in 2016, emerging from a large field of candidates with 49% of the vote back when he was still believed to be unelectable. Diehl cruised to a primary win and far-right gubernatorial candidate Scott Lively had a strong showing in 2018 before Trump crushed former Mass Governor Bill Weld in the 2020 contest.
Meanwhile, Diehl’s likely loss to Maura Healey in November will effectively snuff out the last bit of power the Republican Party had in Mass. With moderates like Charlie Baker in positions of power, conservatives have some real, material strength. At least in the immediate future, the only power Mass Republicans seemingly have is the ability to help pick presidential nominees.
Patrick Cochran is an independent journalist covering politics and grassroots activism.