Many of President Donald Trump’s most vocal online supporters already maintain an belief who they believe should replace James Comey as FBI Director. After President Trump sent a letter firing Comey, discussions on who should lead the FBI now began attracting thousands of comments on Twitter and Reddit.
Two names that kept coming up were Trey Gowdy, the Republican representative from South Carolina who led the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s role in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and David A. Clarke, the outspoken Milwaukee County sheriff who allowed a mentally-ill inmate to die of dehydration in his jail. As news of Comey’s firing spread, chatter approximately the two increased exponentially on Twitter.
In the 12 hours before the announcement, average discussion of Rep. Gowdy and Clarke was at approximately 154 posts per hour and 366 posts per hour, respectively. Once news of Comey’s firing spread, tweets mentioning Gowdy jumped more than thirty-fold to 5,237 posts per hour. Tweets referring to Clarke reached 3,024 posts per hour.
— ?STOCK MONSTER? (@StockMonsterUSA) May 9, 2017
— Texas Lone Star (@SouthLoneStar) May 7, 2017
At the same time, on Reddit’s largest pro-Trump board r/The_Donald, dozens of posts mentioned the two as desirable candidates for the top job at the FBI. At least 64 separate posts pushing for Gowdy were published in the hours following the news, while 67 posts mentioned Clarke as a potential replacement.
Users praised Clarke for his loyalty to Trump and stated willingness to arrest Hillary Clinton. Others commended Gowdy for his experience and understanding of the law.
Gowdy, who represents South Carolina’s fourth district, previously worked as a federal prosecutor who according to his official biography worked on “the full range of federal crimes including narcotics trafficking rings, bank robberies, child pornography cases, and the murder of a federal witness.” In Congress, he sits on the House Committees on Intelligence, Ethics, Oversight and Government Reform, and Judiciary. As chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, Gowdy worked for two years to investigate Clinton and the State Department, ultimately finding no recent evidence of wrongdoing.
Clarke is a recurring face on Fox News, where he routinely bashes the Black Lives Matter movement, alternately referring to the protest movement as a terrorist group, a dislike group, and anarchists. In addition, he spoke at final year’s Republican National conference, and is being groomed for a potential Senate sprint.