Chicago’s police union, like its umbrella organization the national Fraternal Order of Police, has endorsed Republican President Donald Trump’s reelection bid, potentially helping to boost his pro-cop, law-and-order message.

While the endorsement might have been expected, it further illustrates a division between law enforcement and protesters who for months have railed against police brutality and called for racial justice after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

The endorsement isn’t likely to hold much sway for Trump in heavily Democratic Chicago, but John Catanzara, president of the local FOP and an outspoken Trump backer, is happy to antagonize the likes of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who’s endorsed Democrat Joe Biden.

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The Chicago police union’s board of directors convened last Wednesday and voted unanimously to endorse President Trump’s bid for a second term — days before the national FOP announced it was endorsing the president as the organization did in 2016.

Because board leadership is supposed to be taking the pulse of its membership, Catanzara said, the endorsement largely reflects the views of its membership. “But there’s definitely people who are not going to be happy about it. There are more Democrats, locally speaking, but there’s even some Democrats who would agree that the current president has been very good for employment and law enforcement these days,” Catanzara said referring to the president’s support for police officers and how they carry out their duties.

Like Trump, Catanzara said the problem with protests that turn violent has been the Democratic mayors of the major metropolitan cities where they’ve taken place. Lightfoot has pushed back against that notion, saying the protests have been largely peaceful, while others have underscored that the unrest has taken place with Trump in power.

Catanzara was among those who attended Trump’s controversial speech on the White House lawn where he accepted the GOP’s nomination for a second term, which punctuated the four-day Republican National Convention. And the FOP boss said that he’d gladly stump for the president in Chicago.

“I will do whatever I can for him — clearly,” Catanzara told the Tribune. “I hope he makes a somewhat local appearance — that he doesn’t think Illinois is a lost cause and will just kind of mail it in.”

Lisa Donovan is the host of The Spin, the Tribune’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox weekday afternoons.


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