‘Ferocious, but friendly’: Moore calls out Youngkin for criticism of FBI amid HQ battle

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s recent criticism of the FBI amid its investigation into former-President Donald Trump’s handling of sensitive government documents should play a role in which state is picked for the new FBI headquarters building.

“From my understanding, I’m the only chief executive of the two states that actually says, ‘I believe in the mission of the FBI and I don’t believe it should be defunded’ — the only one,” Moore told WTOP’s DMV Download podcast.

In the wake of the indictment against Trump, the FBI has come under heavy criticism of Republicans in Congress — some of whom are threatening to pull funding for a new FBI building.

So far, Youngkin hasn’t joined the chorus of GOP members seeking to defund the agency. But the Virginia governor did criticize the FBI when it searched Mar-a-Lago last summer. In a tweet, he said, “selective, politically motivated actions have no place in our democracy.”

For Moore, this lack of push back from Youngkin on calls to defund the FBI should give the Government Services Administration pause on picking Virginia for the FBI headquarters.

“If I’m incorrect, I know Gov. Youngkin will correct me and he’ll come out publicly and vocally say ‘I believe in the mission of the FBI, I believe the FBI should be funded, and I believe that the attacks on the FBI are unfair.’ If he believes that, he should say that,” Moore said. “I just haven’t heard that from them.”

Youngkin declined an interview with WTOP, and in response to Moore’s claim, spokeswoman Macaulay Porter gave a brief statement:

“Virginia is well-positioned to support the FBI headquarters with a diverse workforce, extensive transportation network and close proximity to public and private sector partners. Virginia’s competitive advantage is clear and partisan attacks won’t change that.”

The potential defunding of the new FBI building is the latest twist in a more than decade-old battle over where the new building is built. The current FBI building has long been in disrepair and voted one of the ugliest structures in the country.

To Moore, the stakes couldn’t be higher for getting the new building.

“We are talking about a building that is going to employ thousands of people and it’s gonna be worth upward of over $4 billion of economic activity,” Moore said. “This is the largest project that GSA has ever done. It’s the largest federal project that has been done since the Pentagon and the CIA building. So this isn’t just about a building.”

Moore’s latest critique of Youngkin comes months after the General Services Administration updated its scoring for who will get the new FBI building. In the new scoring system, proximity to the FBI’s Quantico training site is heavily weighed.

This put Maryland at a significant disadvantage, Moore said.

“You might as well say we’re gonna give 30 points to the place that starts with letter ‘V’,” Moore said.

Despite his critique of Youngkin, Moore maintained this battle over the new FBI building isn’t partisan.

“This isn’t political,” Moore said. “Listen, I have a deep respect for the governor and the work that the Virginia delegation is doing. This is ferocious, but it’s friendly.”

Hear the full conversation with Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on this week’s episode of the DMV Download podcast — out Wednesday.

Luke Garrett

Luke Garrett is a D.C. native dedicated to journalism. He is a reporter and the creator, host and producer of the original WTOP podcast, “DMV Download.” The podcast debuted in 2022. On the show, Garrett takes a weekly look at the biggest stories and ideas in the D.C. region.

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