The largest U.S. Border Patrol union local is praising Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for being the "only candidate" to support their tough mission, an almost endorsement that is the latest boost for the front runner's campaign.
"Mr. Trump is the only candidate that has publicly expressed his support of our mission and our agents. He has been an outspoken candidate on the need for a Secure Border and for this we are grateful," said a statement from Art Del Cueto, president of Local 2544 of the National Border Patrol Council, the representative of 18,000 agents.
He said that Trump sought the local's endorsement, though it has a practice of not endorsing.
However, the statement was as close to an endorsement as possible, and was the latest support for Trump given by several influential border state officials.
The statement, issued Friday, in full is below:
On March 18, 2016, Donald Trump's campaign reached out to Local 2544 about a potential endorsement. I informed Mr. Trump's campaign that NBPC had long standing practice of not endorsing Presidential candidates and that as the President of Local 2544, and I would continue to adhere to that practice.
However, the National Border Patrol Council and Local 2544 are pleased to inform voters that Mr. Trump is the only candidate that has publicly expressed his support of our mission and our Agents. He has been an outspoken candidate on the need for a Secure Border and for this we are grateful.
The American public has continually called for a secure border and Donald Trump has promised to make this desire a reality. His campaign has expressed an interest in a Border Patrol's Agent's perspective and a tour of our border, that we will gladly provide. We do not seek to give tours but if asked we will happily provide a tour that gives a realistic idea of what our Agents face on a daily basis. Donald Trump is the only candidate who has expressed this interest.
We are confident that the National Border Patrol Council's longstanding message about the unsecured border and much needed support for our Agents will be received well by Mr. Trump. The American public deserves to be secure in their own country and we encourage all voters to consider that candidate that has the political will to make it happen.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org