Republicans want to destroy federal law enforcement to punish their enemies. That includes us.

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Donald Trump’s behavior has already made it clear that he and his followers have no respect for the rule of law. Now they are making it clear that they have no respect for the institutions either.

In a dramatic escalation of rhetoric, Republicans are attacking the very structure of federal law enforcement, with the goal of not only discrediting it but destroying it altogether. They want the Department of Justice and the FBI to respond to the demands of the president, rather than maintain their current independence and integrity. Should the GOP succeed, it would have dire consequences for LGBTQ+ rights in the country.

Trump has been feuding with the FBI ever since he was president. He fired one FBI director, James Comey, even though Comey’s overly cautious handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails probably handed Trump the presidency. Trump hated that Comey continued to investigate Russian influence in the 2016 election.

Now the stakes are higher. With Trump under indictment, he’s adopted a scorched earth policy, and most of his fellow Republicans are following suit.

In what would be the end of an impartial federal law enforcement system, Trump is promising to turn the Department of Justice and FBI into his own private army of mob enforcers. If elected, Trump says he will appoint a special prosecutor to “go after” Joe Biden “and the entire Biden crime family.”

While Hunter Biden has done some sketchy things and is currently under investigation, the president has never been credibly accused of any illegality. That hasn’t stopped Republicans from making things up, without evidence. What Trump is promising is that he will finally make good on the “lock her up” threats that he used against Clinton in the 2016 campaign, this time against Biden.

To do so, Trump has assembled a group of anti-democracy thugs around him who are more than willing to carry out his wishes this time. Last time, Trump was saddled with right-wingers, like Jeff Sessions, who still had ethical qualms. He won’t make that mistake twice.

The proponents of this radical change dress it up as justifiable homicide. They argue that any federal agency is essentially under the president’s direct control and should act as such.

“Conservatives are waking up to the fact that federal law enforcement is weaponized against them and as a result are embracing paradigm-shifting policies to reverse that trend,” Russell Vought, who served Trump as director of the Office of Management and Budget, told The New York Times.

In short, the way to fight the alleged weaponization of the government is to really weaponize it.

Of course, not to be outdone, Trump’s rival Ron DeSantis goes one step further. He would dismantle the FBI and Department of Justice.

“We’re not going to let all this power accumulate in Washington, we’re going to break up these agencies,” DeSantis said during a private strategy session, according to a tape obtained by Real Clear Politics. He said that if he was elected, “some of the problematic components of the DOJ” would be “shipped to other parts of the country.”

This fits into a broader plan to stack the civil service with partisan hacks who will carry out the will of the president without regard to law or regulation.

Destroying the federal law enforcement infrastructure would be very bad for the LGBTQ+ community. While there’s no question the community has had a problematic relationship with the FBI in the past, and the Justice Department’s support for LGBTQ+ issues waxes and wanes depending on who is president, both agencies remain critical for pursuing injustices against LGBTQ+ people.

The DOJ has been looking into anti-LGBTQ+ prison violence in Georgia, has pursued federal hate crimes against anti-LGBTQ+ assailants, and has sued landlords for violating fair housing laws. The FBI keeps an annual tally of hate crimes, investigates violent threats against LGBTQ+ institutions and events, and has pursued cases of attacks against trans women.

Those are just some examples. Do you think any of those things would happen if Trump and DeSantis broke up the agencies and made it their personal police force?

Of course not. That’s the point. If anything, the new president could use those institutions to go after individuals and institutions he deems a threat to him personally. Think of what Ron DeSantis did in Florida and imagine what he could do if he was president and had the FBI doing his bidding.

The GOP has gone so far around the bend that it has now become the party of destroying law enforcement in the service of protecting its corrupt leader. Moreover, the party isn’t content with just destroying law enforcement. It now wants to unleash it on its enemies. The last Trump administration demonstrated just who was in that group. If you have any doubt, just look in a mirror.

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