A union representing firefighters and paramedics in Philadelphia endorsed President Donald Trump’s reelection bid, as the president picks up more and more unions representing first responders.
The Philadelphia Firefighters and Paramedics Union, or Local 22, announced on Sept. 29 that it is breaking with the International Association of Fire Fighters, an ally of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, and is endorsing Trump. The union said that the IAFF’s leadership has “lost touch with the will of the membership.”
“The members of Local 22 respectfully break with the undemocratic IAFF endorsement of Joe Biden and pledge our full support to President Donald J. Trump,” said Local 22 President Mike Bresnan in a statement. “The Biden endorsement was done without a canvas of local unions and the consideration of the rank and file IAFF membership.”
Bresnan said that Local 22 members “overwhelmingly chose” President Trump when asked who they support. “They know what is at stake in this election and this endorsement should be a wake-up call to IAFF leaders.”
Bresnan then criticized former President Barack Obama, saying that several Philadelphia fire companies “shut down” due to a lack of federal funding. Meanwhile, Trump provided more Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants to get several companies back into service, he said.
It comes as more and more police unions in major metropolitan areas have endorsed Trump, coming after waves of demonstrations, riots, and unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death earlier this year. Those Black Lives Matter protests were accompanied by a strong anti-police animus, which Trump and the GOP said was either supported or not acknowledged by Democratic leadership.
Earlier this month, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) chapter in Chicago endorsed Trump, and the FOP president of the Chicago chapter, John Catanzara, told the Chicago Tribune of Trump, “I will do whatever I can for him.”
“I hope he makes a somewhat local appearance—that he doesn’t think Illinois is a lost cause and will just kind of mail it in.”
“But there’s definitely people who are not going to be happy about it,” he told the paper. “There are more Democrats, locally speaking, but there’s even some Democrats who would agree that the current president has been very good for employment and law enforcement these days.”
The other law enforcement unions that have also endorsed Trump, including the Florida Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the Milwaukee Police Association, the International Union of Police Association, the National Association of Police, the New York Police PBA, and the National Border Patrol Council.
Mimi Nguyen-Ly contributed to this report.