Philadelphia Fire Department

Trump Visit to Philly Firefighters Canceled After Positive Coronavirus Test

The union had endorsed Trump, sparking protest from some members and to the dismay of Philly Mayor Jim Kenney.

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What to Know

  • President Donald Trump's visit to the Philadelphia firefighters' union scheduled for Sunday was called off.
  • The union said it was because of Trump's positive test for the coronavirus.
  • Trump was going to speak to some firefighters and fire officials after the union endorsed his 2020 campaign for re-election.

President Donald Trump's positive test for the coronavirus led to the cancelation of several campaign events as he quarantines in the White House.

Among those canceled events? A trip to Philly that was scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 4.

After receiving an endorsement from the Philadelphia Firefighters and Paramedics Union, Trump was planning to visit a group of 15 union members and accept their support.

The union initially told its members that due to security reasons, only 15 of them would be randomly selected to see Trump at the indoor event. Those attendees were supposed to schedule a test for COVID-19 and standby afterward.

Then the event was canceled among many other events. A Trump campaign statement said previously announced events with the president will be moved to a virtual event or postponed.

"All other campaign events will be considered on a case-by-case basis and we will make any relevant announcements in the days ahead. Vice President Mike Pence, who has tested negative for COVID-19, plans on resuming his scheduled campaign events," campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement.

President Trump had a busy week of campaigning before his diagnosis with COVID-19. We took a look at the events he attended over the past week that may be at risk for virus spread.

The decision to endorse Trump this week drew protests from some IAFF Local 22 union members and Philly Mayor Jim Kenney.

Friday, some members gathered outside the union headquarters and said they want Local 22 to retract the endorsement of Trump and not endorse a candidate in the presidential race.

They said Local 22 made an illegitimate endorsement without a vote by members, only a 5-4 vote of its board.

"Today's protest was not a referendum on President Trump. It was the rank and file members of Local 22 expressing their outrage over the union leadership's flawed endorsement process that disenfranchised the voices and votes of thousands of dues-paying members," Former Local 22 President Joe Schulle told NBC10 in a statement Friday.

Local 22 president Mike Bresnan claimed in a statement Sept. 29 that the local endorsed Trump after surveying members.

“Local 22 members were surveyed and overwhelmingly chose President Trump,” Bresnan said. “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. There is tremendous support for President Trump among first responders and we encourage other IAFF locals to confer with their members.”

Meanwhile, the national union leadership threw their support behind Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

Bresnan said several Philadelphia fire companies were shut down during the Obama administration but some were reinstated after a FEMA grant was issued during Trump's term. Bresnan could not be reached for further comment on the event cancelation Friday.

Asked about the endorsement in a news conference on Tuesday, Kenney had said it was "clearly a mistake."

"Look, my father was a member of that union. I think that Donald Trump would dismantle every union in the country given the opportunity, and he's done so in the past in his private business dealings. I think it's a mistake for them to do that, and we have done nothing but improve and increase our support for the fire department since I've been mayor. So I don't know what that's about, and I don't think it helps them. I wish they hadn't done it, but everyone's free to make their choices."

Medical expert Dr. Arnold Baskies talks to NBC10's Lucy Bustamante about what President Donald Trump's and Melina Trump's COVID-19 diagnoses could mean to the president, the first lady and those around them.
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