Mar-a-Lago Raid Made Trump 'Victim,' Boosts Support: GOP Strategist

The FBI's raid of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago property turned him into a "victim" and boosted his support among GOP voters, believes a Republican strategist.

John Thomas told Insider that the search of the Florida property was a "watershed" event for Trump that led "people who liked him but might have softened on him to now run to his support or run to his defense."

On August 8, the FBI, with the approval of Attorney General Merrick Garland, carried out the search as part of an investigation into whether Trump mishandled classified documents.

Trump and his allies have blasted the raid, with the ex-president calling it part of an ongoing "witch hunt" targeting him.

As many Republicans have criticized the FBI and rallied behind the former president in the wake of the raid, the event appears to have boosted his support among GOP voters looking ahead to the 2024 election—at least for now.

Mar-a-Lago Raid Made Trump 'Victim:' Strategist
The FBI's raid of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago property turned him into "victim" and boosted his support among Republican voters, a GOP strategist said in a recent interview. Above, Trump leaves Trump Tower on August 10 in New York City James Devaney

A poll conducted by Morning Consult and Politico two days after the FBI's raid showed Trump with his highest level of Republican support since he lost the 2020 election, with 58 percent of GOP voters saying they would back the former president if he ran for reelection in 2024. Nearly 70 percent of the Republicans polled said they believed the search was primarily conducted to damage Trump's political career.

Another poll published by The Economist/YouGov on Thursday found 57 percent of Republicans with a favorable view of the former president—up from 45 percent from the same poll taken the week before.

Another recent poll by conservative-leaning polling firm Rasmussen Reports shows that the Mar-a-Lago raid may also be chipping away at independents' trust in the FBI. It found 46 percent of voters who don't identify with the two major political parties trust the agency less after the event.

While some Republicans have targeted the FBI following the raid, other members of the party have defended it and warned against targeting the agency—which has seen a rise in violent threats in recent days.

Earlier this week, Representative Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, called the threats against the FBI "ridiculous."

"It's ridiculous obviously for what the former president has done, in terms of saying 'This is an attack on my home, I did nothing wrong,' and of course, from the little bit we know, it seems like there's certainly good reasons for the FBI to have done what they did," Kinzinger said.

Newsweek has reached out to Trump's press office for comment.