Despite Police Pushback, Biden Presses On With Visit To Syracuse After Two Cops Were Just Slain

(Photo by Rebecca Noble/Getty Images)

Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
Font Size:

President Joe Biden is pressing on with his scheduled trip to Syracuse, New York, despite pushback from law enforcement who are grieving the loss of fellow officers in the line of duty.

Biden is set to travel to the city on Thursday to promote the CHIPS and Science Act and announce a grant delivered by the legislation, according to CNY Central News. The president opted not to delay the trip following the loss Syracuse Police Officer Michael Jensen and Onondaga County Lt. Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Hoosock in the line of duty on April 14 during a shootout.

Because officers are still grieving the loss, local law enforcement expressed worry to the White House over the timing of the trip, Jeff Moran, the president of the Syracuse Police Benevolent Association, the union representing the city’s officers, told the Daily Caller. (RELATED: Biden To Visit NYC For Record-Shattering Celeb Fundraiser Same Day Trump Honors Fallen Cop)

“The department expressed their concerns to the Biden administration regarding his visit, and the quick turnaround of a Syracuse police officer being buried and an Onondaga County Sheriff’s deputy being buried, and then the manpower that it would take and everything that our members have been through in the past week. Those concerns were expressed to the Biden administration and the Biden administration elected to move forward with the visit,” Moran told the Daily Caller.

The Syracuse Police Department told the Daily Caller that while they never asked for the White House to postpone the trip, they did express concerns about their ability to handle the president’s visit amid the loss of two officers.

‘The Syracuse Police Department did not request that President Biden postpone his visit to Syracuse. We did, however, in early conversations with the Secret Service, express our concern about SPD’s capacity to adequately cover this detail, as we were grieving the loss of two fallen officers—Syracuse Police Officer Michael Jensen and Onondaga County Sheriff Deputy Lt. Michael Hoosock—and planning their services,” Syracuse Police Department Chief Joseph Cecile told the Daily Caller in a statement.

Local law enforcement officials had told CNY Central News that they hoped the trip would be delayed in order to give them time to grieve and recover from the loss of their officers. The officers told the outlet that they had not had time to mourn the loss while also having to plan the funerals for the fallen officers.

Republican New York Rep. Brandon Williams expressed his concerns to the president about the trip on Monday in a letter obtained by the Daily Caller.

“In light of these tragic events, we are hearing from local law enforcement officers that personnel are still recovering from this tragedy and grieving their fallen brothers. I echo their request that you postpone this week’s speaking engagement in Central New York,” Williams wrote.

“I would be happy to join you in announcing this critical funding at a later date—it is worth celebrating. Mr. President, I ask you to heed the calls of local law enforcement and postpone it to a later date,” he continued.

Several New York congresswomen echoed Williams’ sentiments in Monday tweets.

“I stand with our local Police officers in asking Joe Biden to postpone his poorly timed visit to Upstate New York in the best interest of our brave and hardworking law enforcement officers who are already facing additional strains following the death of two beloved officers only days ago. Our Upstate New York law enforcement deserves our full support from every level of government,” Republican New York Rep. Elise Stefanik tweeted.

“The courageous men and women of [Syracuse Police] and the Onondaga Sheriff’s office should not be burdened by the President’s visit after last Sunday’s tragedy. I fully support our law enforcement, and stand with them in opposition to this misguided and cruel move by the Biden Administration,” Republican New York Rep. Claudia Tenney said in a tweet.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh’s office told the Daily Caller that they did not make a request to the White House to delay the trip, though he did ask Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to provide the state’s police force to assist with the visit, and the request was granted.

“President Biden will travel to Syracuse, New York to discuss how the CHIPS and Science Act and his Investing in America agenda are creating jobs and opportunity in communities across the country,” an administration official told the Daily Caller.

Moran expressed concern over the amount of police presence the president’s trip will require and the strain it will put on the grieving officers.

“We’ll have to wait to see how many volunteers actually sign up for the detail but at this point in time, we still have members out on administrative leave because of the critical incident and our protocol,” Moran told the Daily Caller. “I just, I can’t emphasize enough, I mean, we’re crushed. We’re heartbroken. The result of the loss of Officer retention. And now we’re being told that we have to fill President Biden’s detail.”