The nation’s largest police union officially endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump for president Friday afternoon.
The Fraternal Order of Police confirmed its endorsement during its annual national board meeting in Nashville, Tenn., an official told The Daily Caller News Foundation. The organization, which represents 330,000 officers nationwide, released a statement over Twitter:
— National FOP (@GLFOP) September 16, 2016
“Mr. Trump has seriously looked at the issues facing law enforcement today,” Chris Canterbury, national president of the union said in a statement. “He understands and supports our priorities and our members believe he will make America safe again.”
Trump met with the Fraternal Order Aug. 5, after submitting a questionnaire that the union sent out to candidates pursuing the presidency. In the questionnaire, Trump blasted politicians who “demonized unions representing law enforcement.”
Trump levied attacks against President Barack Obama for what the union contended were “politically motivated attacks” against its officers. “It is not the role of the President to involve himself in activities at the local or state level,” Trump said in the questionnaire.
Trump also vowed to protect law enforcement officers’ pensions and benefits. He took a favorable stand on the issuance of body cameras at police departments nationwide as part of a $75 million program under the Obama administration to purchase 50,000 body cameras for state and local law enforcement agencies. Trump assured wary officers that a proper balance between good management and protection of privacy would be used.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did not show interest in courting the police union, failing to fill out the questionnaire or meet with the organization. Her campaign embraced the Black Lives Matter group and other activists groups.
Clinton invited the Mothers of the Movement, an organization closely tied to Black Lives matter to speak at the Democratic National Convention, a move that shocked and infuriated the law enforcement community.
“We [The Fraternal Order of Police] are shocked that the Convention [DNC] chooses pillory police, forgetting about the heroes of San Bernardino, Fort Hood and Orlando,” the police union said at the time.
The union has not always endorsed Republicans, but the last time it endorsed a Democrat was in 1996 when the union threw their support behind former President Bill Clinton. In 2012, the group did not endorse Obama or former Gov. Mitt Romney, and many cited a series of anti-union initiatives supported by Romney as the reason why.
Canterbury called Trump, “a proven leader,” and said, “thats what we need for the next four years, a leader unafraid to make tough choices and see them through.”
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