When a friend told me this morning that the National Fraternal Order of Police, our nations’s largest police organization, with over 325,000 members, had endorsed Donald Trump for President, I thought that it had to be a hoax. “There’s no way,” I thought, “that they could support a candidate who has repeatedly promoted violence at his rallies and suggested that gun rights activists, if they really wanted to protect our nation, would assassinate his rival. It’s apparently not, though. The following comes by way of The Hill.
The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) gave the GOP presidential nominee its endorsement after he received support from more than two-thirds of the group’s national board.
“[Trump] has seriously looked at the issues facing law enforcement today. He understands and supports our priorities and our members believe he will make America safe again,” said Chuck Canterbury, the FOP’s national president.
“He’s made a real commitment to America’s law enforcement and we’re proud to make a commitment to him and his campaign by endorsing his candidacy today.”
And, if you still don’t believe it, here’s the statement from the Fraternal Order of Police.
As for what the police may find attractive about Trump, here’s what the folks at Slate had to say.
Priority one: Instill fear to make people less inclined to criticize the police.
Trump has repeatedly lied about how much crime there is in the United States, asserting at rallies and in interviews that the country is suffering through a violent crime wave, even though most places in America have never been safer.
Why the union likes this: Fear of crime makes people less inclined to criticize police.
Priority two: Try to kill the police reform movement.
Trump casts efforts to make police officers kill fewer people as a “war on police” being waged by criminals. In his prime-time “law and order” speech in August, Trump stated, “Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, the violent disruptor.” By associating activists and protesters with rioters and looters, Trump spreads the notion that people calling for police reform are doing so because they are violent law-breakers who want to weaken the ability of the police to keep the country safe.
Priority three: Make Americans feel so guilty for criticizing the police that they stop criticizing the police.
Trump makes the false claim that it has never been more dangerous to work as a police officer—eliding the much more reassuring reality that the number of American police officers who get killed in the line of duty has been declining for decades. This sends the message that ordinary people with ordinary jobs have no business criticizing the work of law enforcement.
Priority four: More fawning over police officers.
Trump only talks about the police in the most glowing terms, saying things like, “What you do is incredible,” and “the police in this country are absolutely amazing people.” This serves as a counterbalance to widespread calls for police reform that are based on the idea that police officers are not above criticism.
Priority five: Create the impression that this whole “police officers disproportionately kill black people” thing is wrong.
Last November, Trump memorably tweeted a racist meme that, in addition to falsely claiming that 81 percent of whites are killed by blacks, incorrectly suggested that police actually kill whites more often than they kill blacks. It is advantageous to the FOP if more Americans can be convinced, with fake numbers, that the Black Lives Matter movement exists to defend the rights of violent offenders, and that its underlying argument is a sham.
Like a lot of folks, I’d like to think that the instances of police violence that we’re seeing across America can be attributed to “a few bad apples.” When things like this happen, though, it reminds me that the problem goes a hell of a lot deeper.