Before the 2016 election, few major labor unions were as helpful to Donald Trump as the International Association of Fire Fighters. After backing a series of Democrats for president, the union declined to endorse Hillary Clinton — a move correctly seen as a positive for Trump. When the IAFF polled its membership, just 27 percent of respondents supported Clinton for president, about half as many as backed Trump.
On Monday, when the IAFF gathered near the Capitol for three days of lobbying, IAFF President Harold Schaitberger, who had scorched Democrats for embracing “identity politics,” delivered a sharp speech that derided other labor unions for backing a losing candidate and predicted that the IAFF would score wins because it did not stay inside one party.
“The ideological far left doesn’t like anything the current president and his administration attempts to do,” Schaitberger said. “They are in a frenzy that’s resulted in total opposition no matter the issue, while those on the ideological far right end of the political spectrum think he can do no wrong. But as for us, this great union of ours, we’re going to continue to do what we’ve always done. We’re going to put winning ahead of losing, put pragmatism ahead of ideology, while remaining faithful to our core union principles.”
Later that day, the GOP’s replacement bill was released — and it didn’t scrap the tax. Instead, it delayed its implementation until 2025, kicking it out of Trump’s first term. As of Wednesday morning, Schaitberger had not responded to a Monday request for comment on whether the new plan meets the IAFF’s standards.