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The largest police union in Florida made its first endorsement in eight years, voting “unanimously” to back President Donald Trump in November.
John Kazanjian, president of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, announced on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends” that he will deliver an endorsement letter to the president later today as officers have begun to push back on calls to defund police departments.
(Source: Fox News)
“You have a lot of power to tilt an election,” co-host Brian Kilmeade told Kazanjian on Friday.
“We’re 30,000 strong. We go from the panhandle to Daytona, to Tampa down to Miami and the Keys,” the head of the organization said, explaining how the endorsement followed an “emergency meeting via conference phone” with chapter and charter presidents and board of directors.
“I spelled it out on what’s going on not just in Florida but across this country that, ‘Hey, you know what, we’re getting beat up. We’re getting used like a punching bag and we’re tired of it and President Donald Trump has been there for us. He supported us,” Kazanjian said.
The FPBA had already withdrawn its endorsement of a Democratic candidate for the state legislature who questioned why officers needed to drive in unmarked vehicles and called for police to be demilitarized.
Criminal attorney Michael Weinstein’s bid for a state House seat in Florida initially got the endorsement of the 5,000-member Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association. However, his responses to a questionnaire with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel which was published last month raised an alarm for the Florida county-level union.
“When Michael Weinstein came to the Palm Beach County PBA seeking our endorsement, he expressed to us that he supported and respected the police and law enforcement in general,” Kazanjian said in a statement.
“He never expressed the view that the police are militarized, that unmarked police cars caused distrust, or called for more civilian review boards, all of which he later said to the Sun-Sentinel to perhaps win their endorsement. Had we known he supported these drastic changes to policing, which we strongly oppose, we would have never endorsed him,” he added.
The union president explained that his idea to endorse Trump was “unanimously” agreed upon in a vote which “carried a lot of weight.”
“I got a motion to endorse President Donald Trump for this 2020 presidential election,” he said, pointing out that the members are not the only ones who can make an impact on Trump’s reelection bid.
“Not only the 30,000 votes that we had from the members in Florida. Don’t forget about our friends and families, retirees,” he said. “I believe the last cycle, we also put the president on top and guess what? We’re going to come out in force this time to put the president on top.”
Kazanjian was scheduled to meet with Trump and deliver the endorsement letter at the White House on Friday.
“I’m proud to do it,” he said.
The president, who is set to head to Florida Friday for a roundtable with local sheriffs on the coronavirus and storm preparedness.
Bob Paduchik, Trump 2020 Senior Advisor for Law Enforcement and Labor Unions, issued a statement in response to the endorsement of the Florida PBA, which the Trump 2020 campaign noted is the fourth endorsement of the president this month from law enforcement.
“Joe Biden and the radical left are using our brave law enforcement officers as punching bags and scapegoats to divide the nation and conceal the truth – you will not be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” Paduchik said.
“The unanimous endorsement from the Florida PBA is proof police officers understand the importance of re-electing this Law and Order President for four more years,” he added. “President Trump will continue to defend the Thin Blue Line and fight for the safety and security of our communities, and America’s law enforcement officers are with him every step of the way.”
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