Election 2017

Philly police endorse Trump, who needs unions to clinch Pennsylvania

Earlier this summer, the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police excoriated Hillary Clinton.

Police union leader John McNesby, left, said the Philadelphia FOP chapter would follow the national chapter's lead.

Police union leader John McNesby, left, said the Philadelphia FOP chapter would follow the national chapter's lead.

Philly Police Foundation/Rick Wood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA Today Network

Philadelphia’s Fraternal Order of Police is supporting Donald Trump for President.

John McNesby confirmed in an email to Billy Penn the Philly lodge would follow the lead of the national police union, which announced its endorsement of Trump Friday. McNesby said the Philly FOP is bound by the national chapter’s decision. The local FOP’s support for Trump comes after endorsements of Democrats in local races, including Josh Shapiro for Pennsylvania Attorney General.

For the past 20 years, the national FOP has tended to support Republicans. The last Democrat it endorsed was Bill Clinton in 1996. After supporting Republicans in 2000, 2004 and 2008, the national FOP didn’t endorse either candidate in 2012.   

The Philly FOP excoriated Hillary Clinton ahead of the Democratic National Convention this summer for not featuring any speakers related to officers who died on duty while featuring relatives of black men and women who had been killed by officers.

“The Fraternal Order of Police is insulted,” McNesby wrote in an open letter, “and will not soon forget that the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton are excluding the widows and other family members of police officers killed in the line of duty who were victims of explicit and not implied racism and ‘being on duty in blue.’”

Union support is considered crucial for Trump if he wants to win Pennsylvania. Thirteen percent of all workers in Pennsylvania are union members, about two percent above the national average, and 21 percent of all votes cast in Pennsylvania in the 2012 presidential election came from union households. Philadelphia has about 150,000 union members, including 14,500 in the FOP.

Last week, the AFL-CIO released a poll it commissioned showing about 36 percent of all union members in Pennsylvania, Florida, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin supported Trump. That figure had dropped about five points from a previous poll in June.   

A poll released by the Allentown Morning Call Sunday showed Clinton with a nine point lead over Trump in Pennsylvania.   

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