On Tuesday, a short video of San Antonio police officers wearing Donald Trump hats led to discipline. While the Republican presidential nominee came through the Texas airport, the officers wore hats with the candidates’ slogan, “Make America Great Again.” Trump posted the video to his Twitter page of the officers posing with him while sporting the red hats. In the video, officers thank Trump. Then, the words “we will make America safe & great again, together” display on the screen.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2016
Police Chief William McManus said their actions violate a policy that doesn’t allow officers to endorse a candidate while on duty.
However, officers are free to endorse candidates while not on duty. “I expect them to know better than to give the appearance of endorsing a candidate while on duty and in uniform, regardless of the political campaign or the candidate,” McManus said in a statement.
Criticism of the officers’ actions also came from a disapproving community. On Twitter, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor said she was “deeply disappointed” in the officers. Taylor said they showed a “lack of judgement” and that “police must be above politics and serve everyone equally.”
Michael Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, said in a statement that it’s routine for officers to welcome a public figure at the airport. “The officers were most likely caught up in the moment and did not consider the political nature of their actions,” Helle said. Officers wearing Donald Trump hats were disciplined with a written reprimand.
The officers are part of a motorcycle unit that seeks to escort politicians safely. Trump was escorted to a private fundraiser. In August, Trump said he is “a thousand percent” in support of law enforcement. Trump’s support of law enforcement helped him receive endorsement from the Fraternal Order of Police. The Fraternal Order of Police is a U.S. organization containing 325,000 law enforcement members.
The identity of the officers who wore the hats is unknown at this time. The officers are not available for comment.