Trump endorsed by police union after proposing Muslim ban
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the endorsement of a New England union that represents police and corrections officers Thursday evening, and said that, as president, he would call for the death penalty for any person who kills a cop.
The endorsement from the New England Police Benevolent Association comes as Trump remains under scrutiny for his call to ban Muslims from entering the United States "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." The proposal has been panned as xenophobic and un-American by many of Trump's rivals, Republican leaders and others around the world.
Executive board members who attended a closed-door meeting to cast their votes said that Trump's comments had come up briefly in their discussion. But they said that most of the conversation had centered on his past comments in support of police.
Trump was also the only invited candidate to show up to the meeting, said Jerry Flynn, the NEPBA's executive director. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also responded to their invitation, but was unable to attend, he said.
"Listen, our message very clear: It's what is the next president of the United States going to do to unite this country in an effort to save police officers? Because it's open season on police officers," Flynn said before the vote.
"At this point, those of us who are supportive of any party have to look at what is the best interest of our members," he added.
The union represents nearly 5,000 members from about 200 locals across the region, according to Flynn, but has not received much attention from candidates campaigning in the early-voting state.
Trump, who spoke to gathered members and reporters before and after the endorsement was announced, stressed his support for police officers in his remarks.
"Police forces throughout the country have had a hard time. A lot of people killed," said Trump, his voice still hoarse with a bout of laryngitis.
He went on to call for the death penalty for any person who kills a cop.