President-elect Donald Trump received support from the law enforcement community during his 2016 bid for the presidency at all levels — from local police unions to unions representing federal border agents.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz. and Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisc. emerged as surrogates for Trump, as well as effective messengers for the insurgent Republican nominee. The two were regulars on network and cable news, blasting former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for being more interested in cozying up to Black Lives Matter than respecting law enforcement.
The nation’s largest police union, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), endorsed Trump in September. The police union represents 330,000 officers across the country, and said Trump “understands and supports our priorities.” (RELATED: Nations Largest Police Union Throws Full Endorsement Behind Donald Trump)
“Our members believe-we know-that Donald Trump is a proven leader who will make the right decisions for our nation,” Chris Canterbury, president of FOP, said in a statement after the election.
Trump touted himself as the “law and order” candidate, who would enforce immigration laws and defund sanctuary cities. Police union support for Trump was vocal across the country, with local unions from Ohio to Colorado publicly throwing support behind the candidate. (RELATED: Colorado’s Three Largest Police Unions Endorsed Trump)
The outrage from groups including the NAACP and Black Lives Matter did not stop police union leaders from publicly endorsing the business mogul, and the backlash from certain groups may have motivated the law enforcement community and its supporters. (RELATED: NAACP Feuds With Cleveland Police Union)
Trump regularly talked of Kathryn Steinle, a 32-year-old woman shot by an illegal immigrant while walking on a street in the sanctuary city of San Francisco, Calif., at his rallies.
“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our borders,” Trump said while campaigning in November of 2015.
Sanctuary cities, numbering around 300 nationwide, do not honor requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to keep a person in jail until federal immigration officials can assume custody of the person. The union that represents over 5,000 ICE officers endorsed Trump for president in late September.
The National Immigration and Enforcement Council said when it endorsed Trump, “[Clinton] has promised the most radical immigration agenda proposal in U.S. history.” The union’s president, Chris Crane, said in a statement that Clinton’s plans would result in “the total gutting of interior enforcement, the handcuffing of ICE officers, and an uncontrollable flood of illegal immigrants across U.S. borders.”
Trump visited with law enforcement officers and their unions throughout his campaign. He met with the Fraternal Order Aug. 5, after submitting a questionnaire the union sent out to candidates pursuing the presidency. In the questionnaire, Trump blasted politicians who “demonized unions representing law enforcement.”
He criticized 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.
Clinton did not show interest in courting the police union, failing to fill out the questionnaire or meet with the organization.
Clarke and Arpaio may be a part of the Trump administration, an offer that Clarke said he would accept, telling a Wisconsin radio show host that, “I told Donald Trump I wanted to help him, because I thought that this country needed his leadership. That being said, if the president asks you to serve, you step up to fulfill that duty.”
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