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Police Union Endorses Donald Trump Despite His Controversial Muslim Ban Proposal

Trump called the New England Police Benevolent Association's endorsement a huge honor and promised to give cop killers the death penalty, while also defending his recent call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.
December 11, 2015, 5:05pm
Photo by Jim Lo Scazlo/EPA

Donald Trump pledged to give police killers the death penalty in a speech he delivered to an audience of police officers in New Hampshire, as the Republican presidential frontrunner was endorsed by a major police union. The vote of confidence from the New England Police Benevolent Association (NEPBA) came just days after the presidential hopeful sparked controversy for proposing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.

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Speaking to union members in Portsmouth on Thursday, Trump called the endorsement a huge honor. He then used his time to defend his comments about Muslims and discuss illegal immigration, while also promising to use an executive order to impose the death penalty on people who kill officers.

"One of the first things I do in terms of executive order if I win will be to sign a strong, strong statement that will go out to the country, out to the world, that anybody killing a policeman, policewoman, police officer… anybody killing a police officer — death penalty," Trump said. "It's going to happen. OK? We can't go. We can't let this go."

Trump defended his call to completely prevent Muslims from entering the US, which provoked an international uproar earlier this week. He has called for Muslims, including would-be immigrants, students, and tourists, to be blocked from entering the country after shootings in California by two Muslims who authorities said were radicalized.

Board members of the NEPBA approved the endorsement, saying that they were largely focused on Trump's backing of police, with the Muslim comments only vaguely discussed, the Boston Globe reported. Some 200 police departments across the northeast region are included in the NEPBA, which has around 5,000 members.

"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,'' NEPBA executive director Jerry Flynn said before the vote, according to the Globe. ''At this point, those of us who are supportive of any party have to look at what is the best interest of our members.''

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In his speech, Trump likened the recent outrage to the negative reaction that followed his remarks over the summer asserting that Mexico was sending rapists and other criminals into the US. He then said illegal border-crossers from Mexico were carrying "tremendous infectious disease."

"When I said 'illegal immigration,' all of a sudden people started thinking," he said. "And two weeks later, three weeks later, it was really a nice conversation."

He went on to explain that a similar evolution has happened since he first made the Muslim immigration ban comments.

"I'm watching the shows tonight, 'Well, you know, Trump has a point. The visa system is not working.' This woman came in on a marriage visa and she was totally radicalized, and she came in and all of a sudden they're saying it's not working, the visa system, and then another show is talking about something else not working," Trump said, in reference to Tashfeen Malik, who along with her husband Syed Farook is suspected of carrying out the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino that left 14 people dead and 21 wounded.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted this week, which includes responses from before and after Trump made his proposal on Monday, shows that he still holds a commanding lead in the Republican race.

While his polling numbers have not tanked, Trump has started to see backlash from around the world, particularly from business partners. The businessman-turned-reality TV star now makes most of his money from selling his name to golf courses, luxury developments, and retail goods.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon removed Trump as the country's business ambassador. Meanwhile, Landmark Group, a Dubai-based holding company that operates the regional home retail chain Lifestyle, announced on Wednesday that its stores would no longer carry "Trump Home" — a line of luxury furnishings inspired by the real estate mogul's properties — in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. A $6 billion golf project in Dubai that was set to bear the Trump name also dropped it.