Aug. 7, 2016 12:24pm Kaitlyn Schallhorn
Officials at the largest police union in the U.S. are “shocked” by a perceived snub by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton as her campaign declined to seek its endorsement.
The National Fraternal Order of Police will not be meeting with Clinton’s campaign to discuss an endorsement as her campaign decided not to return a lengthy questionnaire disseminated by the police union at the last minute, the union’s leader told The Hill.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
“It sends a powerful message. To be honest with you, I was disappointed and shocked,” Chuck Canterbury, president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, told The Hill. “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.”
Canterbury said the Fraternal Order of Police and the Clinton campaign had been in discussions leading up to the questionnaire’s deadline. The questionnaire is required by the union of all candidates who seek its endorsement.
“We were talking to the highest levels of the campaign, and we had all indications that she was going to return the questionnaire,” he said.
But then on the day of the deadline, Clinton’s campaign decided to decline.
In a statement, Clinton’s campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson did not address why exactly the campaign declined to seek the police union’s endorsement but instead stressed her “commitment” to law enforcement officials.
“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,” Ferguson told The Hill. “She believes that we must work together to build on what’s working and to build the bonds of trust between police and the communities they serve — because we are stronger together.”
Canterbury told The Hill that he “can’t answer” if Clinton actually did respect police officers.
“I don’t know. She isn’t talking to us,” said Jim Pasco, the Fraternal Order of Police’s national executive director.
“Candidly, we were very disappointed,” Pasco said of the Clinton campaign’s refusal to seek the union’s endorsement. “And the idea that a presidential candidate would not want to at least talk to an organization that represents almost half of the police officers in the United States and is a thought leader in the public sphere … is very disappointing.”
Now the Fraternal Order of Police is meeting with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his campaign, the union said. Trump met with officials of the union Friday.
“We are an organization that tries to be bipartisan and works with members of either party wherever we have common ground,” Pasco said.
Clinton’s campaign reportedly has a policy against signing pledges; it’s unclear if it has any policy against questionnaires.