FBI Director Christopher Wray mysteriously remembered to condemn “violent rhetoric” on Wednesday — in reference to Americans outraged over the FBI’s surprise raid on former President Donald Trump’s private home and refusal (so far) to release the search warrant — after conveniently forgetting to do so when left-wing violence erupted after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision.
“I’m always concerned about threats to law enforcement,” Wray announced 48 hours after news broke of his agency’s raid on Mar-a-Lago. “Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with.”
He also called online threats against the DOJ “deplorable and dangerous,” choosing failed 2016 candidate Hillary Clinton’s favorite insult for Trump supporters. While legitimate violence should be swiftly shut down, it’s not hard to imagine abuses and extrapolations coming from the same agency that invoked domestic terrorism laws to go after parents who showed up to protest at their kids’ school board meetings.
The media quickly ran with Wray’s attempt to distract from his own agency’s targeting of political opponents by highlighting the reaction from the right and specifically the potential for fringe threats. “Trump’s allies apparently unbothered about possibility of getting someone killed,” Vanity Fair blared. “Authorities monitoring online threats following FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid,” ABC announced. “Simmering threat of violence comes to fore with search of Trump property,” said The Washington Post.
Oddly enough, I don’t remember hearing the same denunciation of violence after the Supreme Court found it was unconstitutional for the bench to bar elected state legislatures from restricting abortion. In the three months following the Dobbs decision leak, the Family Research Council chronicled 34 attacks on churches and 53 attacks on pro-life organizations and offices and pregnancy care centers. Several of the attacks involved firebombing, attempted arson, and smashing windows on top of threatening or hateful graffiti proclaiming, “If abortions aren’t safe, then you aren’t either.” Radical abortion group “Jane’s Revenge” took credit for many of the attacks, but an FBI spokeswoman in June refused to tell The Federalist whether the group was facing investigation.
Fox News reported that the “Media Research Center found 67 posts threatening or calling for violence against Supreme Court Justices” on social media in the two weeks following the Dobbs decision. People online openly fantasized about killing the justices in the majority, including Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. Blue check marks on Twitter rushed to insist we should “burn down” the court and the country at large. A shady group called “Ruth Sent Us” published justices’ private home addresses and even suggested targeting the school where Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s children attend. Pro-abortion demonstrators tried to breach the Arizona Capitol. Demonstrators swarmed justices’ private residences in an intimidation campaign. A would-be assassin confessed to an attempt on Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s life and was arrested near the justice’s home.
If any of those threats or violence had come from Trump supporters in the wake of the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago, is there any doubt the FBI would have already dragged them away?
But unlike this time, after the violent outrage over Dobbs, the FBI didn’t come running out with a statement condemning the violence. Its parent, the DOJ, issued a long statement “strongly disagreeing ” with the court’s decision, with only two short sentences in the sixth paragraph promising the DOJ would “not tolerate such acts.” It took 44 days after the Dobbs opinion leaked, however — along with multiple pleas from elected officials — for the FBI to even say it would investigate the incidents. Since then, we’ve heard pitifully little.
Meanwhile, after Dobbs, news outlets such as The Washington Post ran headlines like “When is political violence justified?” which if you look very carefully you can distinguish from their fearmongering about the right’s outrage toward the FBI.
The media and federal law enforcement’s willful ignorance of politically convenient violence over Dobbs was a swing from the dramatic hand-wringing over a foolish riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, which was painted as “deadly” despite the fact that the only person who died as a result of the scuffle was shot by Capitol Police. The prolonged crackdown on law-abiding citizens even remotely affiliated with the peaceful protest that preceded the Capitol riot also constituted an abrupt change from leftists’ push to downplay and bail out violent demonstrators over the summer of 2020 who were useful to Democrats’ political agenda.
The FBI’s reaction to outrage over its targeting of a political enemy is just the latest flip in its continual flop between excusing one brand of political violence and making a dramatic example of another. Almost 80 percent of likely American voters believe there is a two-tiered system of justice in their country, and the FBI’s blatant double standard is proving them right.