The largest firefighting union in the country is endorsing Joe Biden for president because of his long-standing support of firefighters, the union’s leader said Monday as he defended the endorsement.
General President Harold Schaitberger of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents 316,000 full-time firefighters, told “Fox & Friends” that the former vice-president has been a supporter of the union for 40 years.
“We’re loyal,” Schaitberger said. “We respect and reward those who stand with us. In this case we’re standing with Joe Biden.”
The union’s endorsement Monday came as Biden hits the campaign trail for the first time as a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
The union’s backing provided Biden with his first major endorsement.
The union supported no one for president in 2016. No other big union has announced an endorsement for a candidate seeking the 2020 presidential nomination.
Schaitberger denied that the dues of pro-Trump IAFF firefighters were being used to support Biden.
“We’re using the money that they choose to contribute to our political PAC, we use on their behalf in the political arena,” he said.
He said those contributions are voluntary.
Schaitberger said that his union has firefighters who are Republicans, Democrats, independents, conservatives and progressive.
“Our job as union is to support the candidate that supports the issues that enhance their careers, their professions, their economic future,” he said. “That’s our role. We don’t question their personal views.”