Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the endorsement of a New England union that represents police and corrections officers last night and said that, as president, he would call for the death penalty for any person who kills a cop, the Associated Press reports. The endorsement from the New England Police Benevolent Association comes as Trump remains under scrutiny for his call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” The proposal has been panned as xenophobic and un-American by many of Trump’s rivals, Republican leaders and others around the world.
Executive board members who attended a closed-door meeting to cast their votes said Trump’s comments had come up briefly in their discussion, but that most of the conversation had centered on his past comments in support of police. Trump also expressed support for local police departments using military equipment, which the Obama administration has worked to curb after complaints about officers using riot gear and armored vehicles to confront protesters in Ferguson, Mo. Trump was the only invited candidate to show up to the meeting, said director Jerry Flynn. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also responded to their invitation, but was unable to attend. “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,” Flynn said before the vote.