The Philadelphia Firefighters’ and Paramedics’ Union broke from the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and “proudly” endorsed President Trump for re-election, citing the overwhelming support for the president among members.
“The Philadelphia Firefighters’ and Paramedics’ Union, Local 22 of the International Association of’ Fire Fighters proudly endorses President Trump for re-election,” the union announced on Tuesday, hours ahead of the first presidential debate.
“The members of Local 22 respectfully break with the undemocratic IAFF endorsement of Joe Biden and pledge our full support to President Donald J. Trump,” President Mike Bresnan said in a statement, explaining that IAFF’s endorsement of Biden was done “without a canvas of local unions and the consideration of the rank and file IAFF membership.”
Local 22 members, which represent over 4,700 current and retired first responders, were surveyed and “overwhelmingly” chose the president, Bresnan said, adding that IAFF leaders should view the endorsement as a “wake-up call.”
“They know what is at stake in this election and this endorsement should be a wake-up call to IAFF leaders that have lost touch with the will of the membership. There is tremendous support for President Trump among first responders and we encourage other IAFF locals to confer with their members,” Bresnan continued.
“Under the Obama-Biden Administration, several Philadelphia fire companies were shut down,” Bresnan added. “The FEMA grants provided by President Trump put Engines 1,8, 14, and 39 back into service protecting the people of Philadelphia”:
— IAFF Local 22 (@IAFF22) September 29, 2020
The endorsement may come as a surprise to the Biden campaign. Pennsylvania first responders are one of the few groups Biden has deliberately tried to reach out to, despite his limited campaign trail appearances.
Last month, for example, Biden delivered pizza to first responders in Pittsburgh:
Joe Biden delivering pizzas to firefighters in Pittsburgh, PA pic.twitter.com/SDLipueeAn
— Tyler Pager (@tylerpager) August 31, 2020
Biden is stopping to deliver pizza to some local EMTs in Pittsburgh
A lone Trump supporter across the street is yelling through a megaphone: “It’s a peace protest Joe!” pic.twitter.com/iJxrDb4pSu
— Johnny Verhovek (@JTHVerhovek) August 31, 2020
Earlier this month, a maskless Joe Biden stopped to speak to Pennsylvania firefighters after participating in CNN’s town hall event:
While leaving the site of tonight’s CNN Town Hall, Joe Biden made an impromptu stop to talk to some firefighters. “No one has any idea what you all do, it’s amazing. I mean, you’re the only crazy SOBs who run into it,” he said. pic.twitter.com/UyWbfA5NQV
— Sarah Mucha (@sarahmucha) September 18, 2020
The endorsement is also significant, as first responders are one of the few groups the Bidens have donated to over the years.
According to Forbes, Joe and Jill Biden donated “just $70,000 to charity in the two decades leading up to 2017, per their tax returns”:
But when their earnings skyrocketed in 2017, so did their giving. That year they handed more than $1 million, or about 9% of their income, to 26 charities—including their family’s Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children ($150,000) and the Joseph Biden Foundation ($100,000).
The following year, the Bidens “reported a $25,000 contribution to the International Assn. of Firefighters Foundation,” according to the Los Angeles Times, which noted that the union thanked him in the form of a swift endorsement.
Indeed, IAFF endorsed Biden last year during the Democrat primary, describing him as “one of our greatest advocates.”