Several members of the Republican Senate leadership team were slow to respond to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Monday search of Mar-a-Lago, with the number three Republican in the chamber not commenting at all.
Conference Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming, Senatorial Committee Chairman Rick Scott of Florida, and Vice Conference Chairwoman Joni Ernst of Iowa were the only members of McConnell’s six-senator leadership team to release statements on the raid, as of Tuesday afternoon. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Whip John Thune of South Dakota commented on Tuesday night, and Policy Committee Chairman Roy Blunt of Missouri has not commented publicly.
McConnell appeared at a press conference Tuesday afternoon in his home state as he surveyed flooding that has left at least 37 dead. He declined to answer a question about Trump, saying, “I’m here today to talk about the flood, and the recovery from the flood.”
He later said, “the country deserves a thorough and immediate explanation of what led to the events of Monday.”
Blunt did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment on the matter.
“Raiding a former president’s home is unprecedented. The Justice Department needs to quickly and transparently tell the American people who approved this raid and why it occurred,” Barrasso tweeted Tuesday morning.
Raiding a former president’s home is unprecedented.
The Justice Department needs to quickly and transparently tell the American people who approved this raid and why it occurred.
— Sen. John Barrasso (@SenJohnBarrasso) August 9, 2022
Scott threatened impeachment for Attorney General Merrick Garland in a statement Tuesday morning, adding that “every Republican must demand accountability.”
When Republicans retake the majority in the Senate, there will be a thorough & aggressive investigation into the @FBI‘s raid of Mar-a-Lago. Everything needs to be on the table for AG Garland, including impeachment if he doesn’t come out TODAY & explain what happened. ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/9FObFjcKSF
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) August 9, 2022
Ernst described the FBI’s search as “totally unprecedented” in a tweet Tuesday afternoon, adding that “the American people deserve answers, now.”
In contrast, all three out of the four members of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s leadership team released statements condemning the search Monday night, with McCarthy promising that the GOP would leave “no stone unturned” if it takes back the lower chamber in 2023. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: McCarthy Plans Training Sessions For House GOP Staffers As Party Preps Investigations Into Biden Admin)
McConnell and Thune in particular are both known to have frosty relationships with former President Donald Trump. McConnell has not spoken with Trump since Jan. 7, 2021, the top Republican told the Washington Examiner in March 2022. Trump threatened to back a primary challenge to Thune in December 2020 after the whip pushed back on plans to object to Electoral College certification, although Trump did not ultimately do so.
Thune called for “complete transparency” from the FBI about the raid in a Tuesday evening statement, saying it was necessary to “dispel the American people’s worst suspicions about the agency’s motives.”
This article has been updated to include statements from McConnell and Thune, which were released after publication.