Officials in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania have asked the Trump campaign to remove a photo of Republican candidate Donald Trump posing with Allegheny police officers from a campaign email, according to reports Wednesday.
The email in question, labeled “Make America Safe Again”, was sent out June 13 and featured the photo of Trump surrounded by local public safety workers and some Allegheny County police officers, among other photos. The email starts off with discussing “how weak the leadership is in our country” and goes on to talk about Trump’s recent campaign activities.
The Post Gazette first raised questions about the photo showing up in the campaign email. Pennsylvania’s civil service law prohibits government officials from “endorsing or opposing a political candidate in…..political advertisement.. or similar material.”
Coleman McDonough, the new superintendent of the Allegheny County Police Department, wrote in an email statement to the Post Gazette, “When dignitaries are in the county … it’s not unusual [for police] to be invited to take a photo with the dignitary as a sign of gratitude. That, we understand, was the intent of this photo which was taken by Trump’s campaign staff.”
McDonough also said that the officers did not violate any policies and that he holds Trump’s campaign responsible for putting the photo in the email.
Vic Walczak, the Pennsylvania ACLU legal director, told the Post Gazette that while the photo of the officials does raise “legal concerns,” that the officers “posing for the picture raises no concerns. The officers should not be punished unless it can be shown that they knowingly and willingly participated in promoting [Trump’s] candidacy. I’m guessing they were as surprised as anyone that they turned up in this.”
“We will be reaching out to the campaign to request the removal of the photo from any campaign materials or electronic items that would suggest any support of the candidate,” superintendent McDonough said.
The Trump campaign has not made a statement concerning the campaign email, and did not respond to request for comment.
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