Many of former President Donald Trump’s most outspoken critics spent the week celebrating the recent FBI raid on his private residence in Florida, but not everyone on the left believes the development will work out in the Democratic Party’s favor.
As liberal comedian Bill Maher explained in a recent segment of his HBO series “Real Time,” the fallout from Monday’s Mar-A-Lago search could make Trump a more formidable candidate ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
Questioning what federal agents found during their search, Maher asked: “Is it going to justify this raid or is this going to be a political nightmare?”
His guest, Fox Nation personality Piers Morgan, said that the deciding factor will be “what is in these boxes” that FBI agents removed from Trump’s residence.
“If it turns out to be the real deal, if it turns out that Donald Trump has violated the Espionage Act, that is a serious crime and he should be held to account,” Morgan added. “If it doesn’t turn out to be there, then there are legitimate questions, I think, from the Trump supporters about the different standards applied to Donald Trump that haven’t been applied to Hillary Clinton, to James Comey, to Hunter Biden and the others.”
Maher defended the decisions by FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland, suggesting that they would not have “signed off on this if there wasn’t a reason to do it,” but he predicted that the timing could serve to benefit Trump.
“His fortune was finally falling,” the host claimed. “The ‘big lie’ was finally losing momentum. [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis was beating him in the polls. You know who hates this more than anybody? DeSantis.”
Assuming Trump launches a 2024 White House bid, Maher said that his primary and general election rivals will have to “run against President Martyr.”
Trump’s 2024 Primary Support Reaches New Heights After FBI Raid – Politico/Morning Consult poll:
Donald Trump 58%
Ron DeSantis 16%
Mike Pence 8%
Nikki Haley 2%
Tim Scott 1%
— InteractivePolls (@IAPolls2022) August 11, 2022
Morgan had an alternate theory, claiming that the Democratic nominee would rather square off against Trump in two years than a more traditional politician like the Florida governor.
“If you’re Joe Biden, who would you rather face?” he asked. “Donald Trump who has all the baggage, who has the Jan. 6 investigation ranging a number of legal actions, all this stuff now … or would you rather face a much younger, more dynamic DeSantis who hasn’t had the baggage?”
Some political strategists from both sides of the aisle agree that the focus on Trump and the FBI investigation could backfire for his Democratic adversaries. GOP consultant Andy Surabian, for example, predicted that “all the Democrat media attacks on Trump … do nothing politically but ensure that Republican voters stay attached to his hip.”