Less than a week after a Facebook public group called IAFF Union Firefighters for Trump was established on April 29, more than 18,900 people had joined showing support for Trump.
Sponsors of the Facebook group said they’re frustrated with the union leader’s endorsement of Biden.
“Our movement evolved from dedicated IAFF members, frustrated with our leaderships exploitation of our political capital to promote a political candidate/party whose values run contrary to those of our own,” read the group description.
Anthony Vera, a firefighter from Hollywood, Fla., said he is an American first, firefighter second, and a union member third. He said that a strong economy is one of the reasons he joined this movement: “I submit to you all that there’s no better issue for a firefighter than a strong economy and higher wages. They each bring more (not higher) tax revenue (which last time I checked, the majority of us depend on). More money in the economy means more security for our profession and stability for the municipalities that employ us. And that translates to more municipalities that are able to spend more on ‘our needs.'”
Edward Hannon, a firefighter from the Arlington County Fire Department and a member of the group, said he is an Independent voter but couldn’t agree with the union’s endorsement.
“OK stepping out of my comfort zone here to reply to this post. I am an Independent voter. Yes it troubles me that our union was soo quick to endorse Mr. Biden. Almost as much as the call to support Mr. Trump. There are several candidates on all sides that should be vetted before throwing our support behind them,” he said.
The International Association of Firefighters Union is rebelling on their very foolish leader. Perhaps they will vote him out of office. He doesn’t get it! https://t.co/NmaasMxOLE pic.twitter.com/7tMG5NtvwO
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2019
Trump praised the movement and thanked the firefighters for “rebelling on their very foolish leader.”
“Perhaps they will vote him out of office. He doesn’t get it!” Trump appeared to mention the IAFF President Harold Schaitberger in a Twitter post on Saturday morning, May 4.
He sent a tweet on International Firefighters Day with a gesture of gratitude later.
“Today, May 4th – is International Firefighters Day! We remember all of those who put their lives on the line to save others, and are grateful to those who continue to do so 24/7/365. We love our great firefighters, thank you!” he tweeted.
Today, May 4th – is International Firefighters Day! We remember all of those who put their lives on the line to save others, and are grateful to those who continue to do so 24/7/365. We love our great firefighters, thank you! #ThankAFirefighter pic.twitter.com/LBSfQRFZ7k
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2019
A counterpart Facebook page called IAFF Fire Fighters For Biden is being followed by less than 800 people by the time of this publication.
After the IAFF’s April 29 endorsement, Trump resent a string of almost 60 tweets May 1, in response to the act and said he has done more than the firefighter union, The Epoch Times reported.
I’ve done more for Firefighters than this dues sucking union will ever do, and I get paid ZERO! https://t.co/Tw0qwTiUD6
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2019
According to the IAFF website, they represent more than 316,000 full-time professional firefighters and paramedics in more than 3,400 affiliates throughout the United State and Canada.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the name of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) union. The article also incorrectly stated where firefighter Anthony Vera is based. Vera is a firefighter in Hollywood, Fla. The Epoch Times regrets the errors.