Jeff Mordock, Washington Times, July 15, 2020
The National Association of Police Organizations endorsed President Trump’s reelection Wednesday, citing his “steadfast and very public support” for law enforcement.
In a brief letter to Mr. Trump, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, NAPO President Michael McHale said the president’s support was critical in the wake of the attacks on law enforcement following the death of George Floyd.
The president’s outspoken public praise of law enforcement appreciated “during this time of unfair and inaccurate opprobrium being directed at our members by so many,” said Mr. McHale.
“We particularly value you directing the Attorney General to aggressively prosecute those who attack our officers,” he wrote.
The group, which represents more than 1,000 police unions and 241,000 sworn officers, did not endorse a candidate in the 2016 presidential election. It endorsed the Obama-Biden ticket in 2008 and 2012.
The decision to side with Mr. Trump this year delivered a blow to presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden, who prides himself on being a “union man” and longtime ally of police.
The NAPO endorsement revealed the depth of the cracks in Mr. Biden’s police support since he sided with racial justice protesters and fellow Democrats who have been hammering police departments with accusations of racism and brutality.
Officials from other police unions told The Times that they felt abandoned when Mr. Biden refused to condemn attacks on police following the death of Mr. Floyd, a Black man who died under the knee of a White police officer in Minneapolis.
“Biden seems to have abandoned the police and his support for the police because it is not popular to support the police at this time,” said Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, the second-largest labor union representing New York City Police Department officers.
“It’s disappointing, but most politicians are doing that,” he continued. “I feel that if you support us, stand your ground. We don’t deserve not to be supported.”
The police union officials who praised Mr. Biden’s landmark anti-crime legislation in the 1990s and considered him a stalwart defender of the men and women in blue, say his current rhetoric is surprising.
“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,” said Bill Johnson, executive director of NAPO. “Mr. Biden, like a lot of candidates, moved to the left party during the primaries, but once it was clear that he was going to be the nominee, he didn’t stop.”
Mr. Biden’s new police overhaul plan would roll back parts of the 1994 crime legislation that he championed. The get-tough 1994 bill was viewed as a liability for him with Black voters this year.