The Philadelphia chapter of the International Association of Fire Fighters broke with the IAFF on Tuesday to back President Trump for reelection over his Democratic rival Joseph R. Biden.
Michael Bresnan, president of the Philadelphia Firefighters’ and Paramedics’ Union, Local 22 of the IAFF, said the national group’s endorsement of Mr. Biden was done without canvassing local chapters and rank-and-file members.
Mr. Bresnan said Local 22 members were surveyed and “overwhelmingly” chose Mr. Trump.
“They know what is at stake in this election and this endorsement should be a wake-up call to IAFF leaders that have lost touch with the will of the membership,” he said. “There is tremendous support for President Trump among first responders and we encourage other IAFF locals to confer with their members.”
Mr. Bresnan said IAFF Local 22 represents the interests of more than 4,700 current and retired firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs.
The IAFF was one of the first major unions to endorse Mr. Biden for president last year.
The national group abandoned early tentative plans to endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016 and ultimately did not make an official endorsement in the contest between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump.
Mr. Biden frequently mentions unions and firefighters in his campaign speeches, using various versions of a line that “God made man and then he made some firefighters.”
He was heckled in August as he delivered pizzas to firefighters during a campaign stop in Pittsburgh.
“Hey, Joe! You finally got out of the basement!” said a protester from atop a truck.
“Don’t jump! Don’t jump!” Mr. Biden replied.
Mr. Biden could well have to run up the score on Mr. Trump in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs if he hopes to win Pennsylvania, which Mr. Trump carried in 2016 by about 44,000 votes.