The Fraternal Order of Police, which bills itself as the largest police union in the world, endorsed Donald J. Trump (R) for president Friday, saying that Trump “understands and supports our priorities, and our members believe he will make America safe again.”
Trump responded to a 12-page questionnaire from the FOP and then met with its leaders last month in Trump Tower, the union’s executive director, Jim Pasco, said Friday. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton did not respond to the questionnaire until weeks after the early August deadline had passed, Pasco said, which did not give the FOP time to distribute her answers to state lodges across the state, and the union did not meet with her.
The FOP did not endorse a presidential candidate in 2012, and has not endorsed a Democratic candidate since Bill Clinton in 1996, Pasco said.
“His representations to us,” Pasco said, “both in his public statements about police and in our meeting with him as a follow-up to the questionnaire, he made commitments to us that he would support law enforcement if he was elected, and keep our views in mind as he undertook to uphold the threshold responsibility of a president, which is to protect public safety.”
In the questionnaire, Trump did not always commit to supporting FOP positions, and he did not endorse legislation which would make a capital offense the killing of any local law enforcement official whose agency receives federal funds. But Trump did offer strong support for the Second Amendment, saying that “Gun control laws are not the answer to gun violence,” and he said he would rescind an executive order by President Obama which limited the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement, saying the transfers were “an excellent program that enhances community safety.”
The police union, representing 330,000 members, made its endorsement at a meeting of its national board in Nashville. Two-thirds of the board, including one representative from each of 46 states and the District, were required to vote in favor of the endorsement.
“Obviously, this is an unusual election,” FOP President Chuck Canterbury said in a release announcing the endorsement. “We have a candidate who declined to seek an endorsement and a candidate without any record as an elected official. Mr. Trump, however, has seriously looked at the issues facing law enforcement today. … He’s made a real commitment to America’s law enforcement and we’re proud to make a commitment to him and his campaign by endorsing his candidacy today.”
Here is Trump’s response to the FOP questionnaire: