Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy doubled down on his pledge to defund the FBI, as populist anger brews against a weaponized and politicized justice system.
The rising star threw down the gauntlet at California's Republican Party convention in Anaheim last week, where President Trump also spoke.
"Mass layoffs are absolutely what I would bring to the DC bureaucracy," Ramaswamy said.
Echoing Trump's call to "drain the Swamp," Ramaswamy has made wrangling an out-of-control administrative state or "deep state" a major plank of his campaign message.
He pledged to shut down the "deep state" and alphabet agencies including the FBI, the IRS, and the CDC.
"Today, the people who we elect to run the government are no longer the ones who actually run the government. It is the deep state in the shadow government of those three-letter agencies that wield power today," he said.
"That is why I've said that as your next president, I will shut down the unconstitutional federal administrative state."
Trump - the far and away frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2024 - has made similarly ambitious promises to dismantle the deep state, sending the left into a panic.
Ramaswamy was the breakout star of the first Republican primary debate, and he has grabbed attention with his smooth delivery and impassioned defense of President Trump against multiple politicized indictments.
Anger at a two-tiered justice system has grown, as Republicans point to the relentless pursuit of Trump and the comparatively kid-gloved treatment of Joe and Hunter Biden, as well as numerous cases of ordinary conservative activists being targeted for their beliefs.
The FBI came under hot water for circulating an internal memo that described traditional Catholics as a threat.
According to a fresh report in Newsweek, the FBI under Joe Biden has dedicated most of its anti-terrorism resources to going after Trump supporters, and those efforts are escalating ahead of the 2024 election.
The FBI has even created a new category to clandestinely categorize the Trump movement in its investigations.
“Trump’s army constitutes the greatest threat of violence domestically…politically…that’s the reality and the problem set," an intelligence official said.
While Republicans have grown skeptical of the FBI, Democrats have embraced it as their own Praetorian Guard - while laughing off the right's complaints about weaponized government.