Pittsburgh’s police union has endorsed Donald Trump, its president told The Incline.
That’s one of many nods from locals across the country that led the national organization to throw its weight behind the Republican presidential candidate on Friday.
For Robert Swartzwelder, endorsing Trump came down to Hillary Clinton’s refusal to return the national Fraternal Order of Police’s questionnaire sent to presidential candidates.
“You’re sending me a huge signal, as the president of a local lodge: ‘I don’t care what you have to say, and I don’t care what you’re requesting.’ Making that statement makes it easy to endorse the opposite candidate,” the local lodge’s president told The Incline.
“To me, that’s frightening as a police officer, and I think that frightens a lot of other police officers, active and retired.”
“Mr. Trump, not only did he answer the questionnaire, but he took a few hours to meet with the national board and president,” said Swartzwelder, who is also an active officer in Zone 2 and an adjunct instructor for the city’s police academy.
The Clinton camp told The Hill regarding her decision to not seek its endorsement, “Hillary and her team have engaged law enforcement throughout the campaign to listen to ideas and solutions, and she will continue to do so as president.”
Swartzwelder said national endorsements stem from the local level. Locals vote on who they would like to see endorsed.
At the Pittsburgh lodge, members voted unanimously to endorse Trump at its August meeting, and no members raised objections to the endorsement, Swartzwelder said. (Philly’s local is also supporting Trump.)
That support was filtered to the state lodge by the first week of September, which contributes to the national level. (The state lodge also endorsed Republican candidate Pat Toomey for U.S. senate in August.)
National trustees represented by every state then determine the organization’s overall endorsement, Swartzwelder said.