From The Hill
Top officials at the biggest police union in the country are upset with Hillary Clinton, saying she snubbed them.
The leader of the National Fraternal Order of Police told The Hill that the Democrat sent a signal through her staff that she wouldn’t be seeking the union’s endorsement.
“It sends a powerful message. To be honest with you, I was disappointed and shocked,” said Chuck Canterbury, the president of the National Fraternal Order of Police.
“You would think with law enforcement issues so much in the news that even if she had disagreements with our positions, that she would’ve been willing to say that.”
Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump, is now actively seeking the union’s support as he trumpets a “law and order” message on the campaign tail.
Canterbury spoke to The Hill in a telephone interview Friday, shortly after he left Trump Tower in Manhattan.
He and other leaders of the police union — which says it represents 335,000 members — visited with Trump on Friday morning to sound out the Republican nominee about his positions on issues of importance to law enforcement officers. Politico first reported the meeting.
The union will not be meeting with Clinton because her campaign decided not to fill out a questionnaire that is required for seeking the police union’s endorsement.
“We were talking to the highest levels of the campaign, and we had all indications that she was going to return the questionnaire,” Canterbury said.
“And on the deadline date we were advised that they declined.”
The Fraternal Order of Police has a strict process for making a presidential endorsement.
It first sends each candidate a lengthy questionnaire; after the candidates complete and return their questionnaires, the union distributes the answers to its membership.
Finally, in September, the state chapters vote, and if a candidate receives majority support in two-thirds of the states, he or she wins the union’s endorsement.
This year, only Trump’s campaign filled out the questionnaire.
Canterbury says that to his knowledge the questionnaire snub has only happened once before — in 2004 with John Kerry.
He said President Obama submitted the questionnaire in both 2008 and 2012.
The last time the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed a Democrat for president was Bill Clinton in 1996, Canterbury said. In 2000 and 2004, the union endorsed George W. Bush, and in 2008 it supported John McCain. In 2012, the union endorsed neither Obama nor Mitt Romney because neither could command a two-thirds majority of states, he said.
Asked about the decision not to seek the police union’s endorsement, Clinton spokesman Jesse Ferguson said, “Throughout her career, Hillary Clinton has been committed to our law enforcement officers.”
“As she said from the beginning of her campaign, across the country, police officers are out there every day inspiring trust and confidence, honorably doing their duty, putting themselves on the line to save lives.
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