Alex Brandon / APJohn Kazanjian, president of the Florida Police Benevolent Association, speaks as President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with leaders of some of the national law enforcement organizations in the Cabinet Room of the White House on July 31, 2020, in Washington. (Alex Brandon / AP)
In the swing state of Florida, the state’s largest police union is throwing its heft behind President Donald Trump in a very big way.
In an interview Friday on Fox News, Florida Police Benevolent Association President John Kazanjian said his organization decided in a “unanimous” vote to endorse the president, something he said “carried a lot of weight.”
“We’re 30,000 strong. We go from the panhandle to Daytona, to Tampa down to Miami and the Keys,” Kazanjian said.
While the association hadn’t made a presidential endorsement in eight years, Kazanjian said recent events pushed him to act. He recounted that he called an “emergency meeting via conference phone” about the issue last week.
“I spelled it out what’s going on,” Kazanjian said.
“Not just in Florida but across this country — that, ‘Hey, you know what, we’re getting beat up. We’re being used like a punching bag and we’re tired of it and President Donald Trump has been there for us. He supported us.’”
And thus, he was able to get his fellow members on board.
“I got a motion to endorse President Donald Trump for this 2020 presidential election,” Kazanjian said.
Do you think President Trump will win the state of Florida in 2020?
In a close state, that might end up making a serious difference.
Kazanjian ended up noting the endorsement could affect the vote of “[n]ot only the 30,000 members that we have down in Florida. Don’t forget about our friends and families, retirees.”
“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 get him over that top.”
As for those who would defund or otherwise tie the hands of police, Kazanjian said the union had an issue with this at the state level a few weeks ago. The PBA revoked its endorsement of a Democratic candidate for state representative after he expressed dramatically different opinions in a questionnaire for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel than he did when he sought the union’s backing, Kazanjian said.
Michael Weinstein “came into the screenings and, listen, he said all the buzzwords, how he supports police, this and that,” Kazanjian said.
“Last week, he did an interview with the local paper and he said just the opposite, how he wants to demilitarize the police, how he wants to take away our unmarked cars, how he wants to have civilian review boards.
“So, you know what I did? I rescinded his endorsement,” Kazanjian added.
Kazanjian was more specific in a statement to Fox News.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Kazanjian said in the Fox interview that he would be meeting Trump at the White House later in the day to hand him the endorsement letter: “I’m proud to do it,” he said.
Police unions aren’t necessarily Republican, even if law enforcement tends to be solidly red territory.
These are public sector unions, after all, and Democrats can be very kind to them when it comes to remuneration. Consider the fact that, until recently, Joe Biden was considered a popular choice among police organizations.
Times have changed, particularly with the au courant movement for liberal croupiers to move as many chips from law enforcement’s seat at the table and to distribute them among liberal causes.
The Florida PBA probably won’t be the only police union we’re going to see make a very public declaration like this.
In the nation’s most populous swing state, however, this is a big endorsement — particularly considering the power that police unions have.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.