Trump touts NYC police union endorsement: ‘Pro-cop all the way’
President Trump on Friday touted the support of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) union, arguing his intense focus on law enforcement will help him win in November.
Trump was joined by dozens of members of the city’s Police Benevolent Association (PBA) at his private club in Bedminster, N.J. The union, which represents roughly 24,000 members, gave Trump its endorsement, and the president delivered what amounted to something of a campaign speech.
“My agenda is anti-crime and pro-cop all the way, and that’s what it’s got to be,” Trump said.
Trump decried protesters who have spray-painted anti-police slogans during recent protests, and decried New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) in particular over his treatment of the city’s police.
Trump told the police in attendance that they’ve “got to be able to fight back,” echoing similar rhetoric he has used in certain places encouraging law enforcement to use more aggressive and controversial tactics.
Union president Patrick Lynch lamented a “false narrative” that the city’s law enforcement officers are “evil” and he praised Trump for what he called a willingness to “speak the truth” and give his support to police.
“I cannot remember when we’ve ever endorsed for the office of president of the United States, until now. That’s how important this is,” Lynch said.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who also served as Trump’s personal attorney, attended Friday’s event. Giuliani, clad in a dark “NYPD” hat, heaped praise on Trump in his remarks while attacking Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Joe Biden’s newly announced running mate.
The president’s speech was similar to Trump’s traditional campaign rallies. The president polled the crowd on whether they preferred the nickname “Sleepy Joe” or “Slow Joe” for the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Trump told the crowd that he hoped to make a play to win New York on the strength of his “law and order” platform. Trump lost the state by nearly 2 million votes in 2016, and no Republican has won the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
The president has made a message of law and order a central component of his reelection bid amid nationwide unrest over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. After initially appearing open to policing reform, Trump pivoted sharply to defending law enforcement and painting demonstrators as unruly and, in some cases, anarchists.
The president held a mini-campaign rally in Florida late last month alongside local sheriffs, while Vice President Pence has attended multiple “Cops for Trump” campaign events in Pennsylvania and Arizona in recent weeks.
Trump and Pence have painted a dystopian picture of a country under a would-be Biden administration. But those efforts have been complicated by the public statements and records of both Biden and Harris.
The Trump campaign has tied Biden to the “defund the police movement,” but has at times highlighted his role in passing the 1994 crime bill that led to a spike in incarceration for low-level offenses. Biden has said he would be open to redirecting some funding away from police departments and toward other public services, but has opposed the idea of fully defunding law enforcement.
Harris, meanwhile, has offered her support for policing reform amid the George Floyd protests, but some progressives have been critical of her hardline record as a prosecutor and as California attorney general.