President Donald Trump received two endorsements for his reelection campaign for president on Wednesday. One was expected, from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which has endorsed him previously. The other, from the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), was a pleasant surprise.
Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive director, wrote:
On behalf of America’s 5 million NRA members, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is proud to endorse your reelection as president of the United States of America.
You’ve done more than any president to protect the Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. The NRA stands behind you and your administration.
We were proud to play a leading role in your 2016 election. You promised to defend the Second Amendment and stand tall for the constitutional freedoms in which our members believe. You recognize the Second Amendment is about liberties that belong to all Americans.
You have delivered on your promise.
The other endorsement followed a meeting at the White House on Monday to honor law enforcement. During the meeting the president said, “Our officers have been under vicious assault. Reckless politicians have defamed our heroes as the enemy.… These radical politicians want to defund and abolish the police.… My administration is pro-safety, pro-police and anti-crime.”
The president added:
It’s all far-left cities where they have no understanding of what has to be done. If that’s what you want for a country, you probably have to vote for “Sleepy” Joe Biden, because he doesn’t know what’s happening. But you’re not going to have it with me.
The president met personally later with the president of NAPO, Michael McHale, who polled his members about possibly endorsing the president.
Endorsing Trump would be a 180-degree change for NAPO, which, although endorsing neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton in 2016, endorsed President Obama and Vice-President Biden in 2008 and again in 2012.
After receiving affirmation from two-thirds of his 240,000-member organization, which represents more than 1,000 police units and associations across the country, McHale wrote this to the president:
On behalf of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), I am very pleased to formally announce NAPO’s endorsement of your re-election campaign for President of the United States. Our endorsement recognizes your steadfast and very public support for our men and women on the front lines, especially during this time of unfair and inaccurate opprobrium being directed at our members by so many.
We particularly value your directing the Attorney General to aggressively prosecute those who attack our officers, your signing into law the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act, your advocacy and signing into law the legislation which permanently authorized funds to support 9/11 first responders and their families, your revitalization of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program to help reduce violent crime, and your unflagging recognition that America’s law enforcement officers, just like any other citizens, have Constitutional rights, too.
Other similar endorsements are likely, according to Paul Digiacomo, president of the second-largest police organization in New York City, the Detectives’ Endowment Association. Said Digiacomo: “Joe Biden was a very strong supporter of [ours] years ago, and he’s been kidnapped now by the anti-police rhetoric. There’s a big question amongst our members if Joe Biden is going to stand up and support the police.”
Right now, I can’t see any police or law enforcement group backing him after what he said, dancing around the subject of policing in America.
Bill Johnson, the executive director of NAPO, agrees:
I think police officers and associations look at Joe Biden today, and it’s hard not to contrast the candidate today with the senator of 15 or 20 years ago.
Mr. Biden, like of lot of candidates, moved to the party left during the primaries, but once it was clear that he was going to be the nominee, he didn’t stop….
It is very fair to say that officers are concerned by what they’ve seen and not seen. It would be so welcome to receive even just a word of encouragement [from Biden] and … condemn the violence and deadly attacks that are ongoing against the police.
The public presentation of Mr. Biden’s campaign regarding law enforcement makes us very concerned about what his administration would look like.
Image: Screenshot from napo.org