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The Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union in the U.S., endorsed President Trump for re-election on Friday, commending him for his focus on law and order.
“During his first four years, President Trump has made it crystal clear that he has our backs,” said FOP president Patrick Yoes in a statement. “Our members know that he listens to the concerns of our brothers and sisters in uniform and is able to make tough decisions on the issues most important to law enforcement. President Trump is committed to keeping our communities and families safe.”
As violent protests and rioting have swept the country this summer following the death of George Floyd, Trump has made repeated calls for law and order and has threatened to send federal forces into cities that cannot control violence and property damage.
— National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) September 4, 2020
Police officers and federal agents often became targets of violence during the riots, all while many Democrats have fallen in line with protesters’ calls to cut police funding in order to redirect resources to social services. In New York City, where shootings and other violent crime has surged in recent months, local representatives responded to activists’ demands by cutting $1 billion from the annual police budget and eliminating the gun violence prevention task force.
For his part, Biden has voiced support for police reform, but not for defunding police departments. He recently clarified his position, saying “Let’s get the facts straight, I not only don’t want to defund the police. I want to add $300 million to their local budgets to deal with community policing to get police and communities back together again.”
Trump has consistently expressed support for police and recently issued a memo saying he’d slash federal funding for any “anarchist jurisdiction” that “disempowers or defunds police departments.”
“Public safety will undoubtedly be a main focus for voters in this year’s election,” Yoes said. “Look at what the national discourse has focused on for the last six months. President Trump has shown time after time that he supports our law enforcement officers and understands the issues our members face every day.”
“The FOP is proud to endorse a candidate who calls for law and order across our nation. He has the full and enthusiastic support of the FOP,” Yoes said.
The union, which has over 355,000 members, said it made the decision to endorse the president after sending a questionnaire to Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. The union said it received responses from both campaigns in mid-July, after which it distributed the candidates’ questionnaire responses to its members and canvassed them to make a decision.
The group also endorsed Trump in 2016 after criticizing then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for not seeking their endorsement.
FOP didn’t endorse a candidate for president in 2012 and in 2008, 2004, and 2000 it backed the Republican nominees — the late Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.) and President George W. Bush. In 1996, it endorsed President Clinton.