Leftwing Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has sailed into another tweetstorm with a virulent criticism of a police labour union that backed Republican President Donald Trump’s re-election bid.
The Police Benevolent Association of New York City (PBA) gave its unprecedented endorsement to incumbent last Friday at a public event at his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Standing alongside Trump, PBA President Pat Lynch told the president: "You’ve earned this endorsement. I’m proud to give it".
"I have 36 years on this job … I cannot remember when we have ever endorsed for the office of President of the United States until now", Lynch added to cheers from gathered officers.
"That’s how important this is, Mr President, we’re fighting for our lives out there. We don’t want this to spread to the rest of the country. We need your strong voice across the country".
Trump tweeted his gratitude to the PBA, pledging "I will never let you down" and "New York’s Finest are truly the best of the best".
Today, it was my great honor to proudly accept the endorsement of the @NYCPBA! I have deeply and profoundly admired the brave men and women of the #NYPD for my entire life. New York’s Finest are truly the best of the best — I will NEVER let you down! #MAGA pic.twitter.com/o1l5kAx34v— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2020
But AOC, Congress representative for the 14th district of New York, was quick to lay into her city’s police, sarcastically tweeting that the endorsement was "part of their neighbourhood outreach plan".
And she doubled down by asking "does anyone else see a potential problem with police unions - enforcement arms of the state with lethal weapons - promoting 'preferred' candidates for office or is that just me?"
NYPD union endorsed Trump. I’m sure this is part of their neighborhood outreach plan.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 15, 2020
Also, does anyone else see a potential problem with police unions - enforcement arms of the state with lethal weapons - promoting “preferred” candidates for office or is that just me? https://t.co/UlmigAuedh
In its editorial on Tuesday, the conservative-leaning New York Post condemned AOC’s comments as "ignorant" and "despicable".
"For starters, unions aren’t arms of the state: They’re associations that (among other things) look to influence the state on behalf of their members", it wrote.
"And her suggestion that New York’s Finest would use their weapons to push an electoral outcome is beyond despicable".
It concluded: "Ocasio-Cortez’s complaint here looks like yet another case of progressive intolerance: Anyone who disagrees with her, and actually organizes in opposition, must be doing something wrong".
The Democratic Party has enjoyed the support and endorsement of most labour unions since the time of Bill Clinton’s two terms of office.
Democratic-controlled city councils have backed de-funding their police departments amid the wave of Black Lives Matter protests following the May 26 death of George Floyd when police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck during an arrest.
The city of Minneapolis, where Floyd died, was the first to vote for such measures, while Seattle allowed protesters to set up a no-go zone for police in the inner-city Capitol Hill district.
Seattle police retook control of the so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone on 1 July after less than a month, following a spate of murders there.
By contrast, Trump has responded to widespread rioting by declaring Antifa anarchist groups terrorist organisations.