Those two or three dozen Pennsylvania state troopers, from the bottom of my heart, can go f**k all the way off,” Michael Fanone told HuffPost.
The photo, which Trump posted to his Twitter-like Truth Social platform without comment but in a series of photos and videos from his Saturday night rally, shows 31 officers in full uniform, three in black T-shirts and two men wearing suits. Trump is in the middle. None of the troopers is Black; two are women and it is unclear whether any are Latino.
Trump on Sunday showed off the photo of him flashing a thumbs-up sign with rows of uniformed troopers on either side of him, a large sign and logo for the “Pennsylvania State Police, Troop P, Wilkes-Barre” directly behind him.
The night before, at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, he had attacked the FBI and the Department of Justice for investigating him. Just days earlier, he had said he would likely pardon all the Jan. 6, 2021, rioters, many of whom have been charged with assaulting police officers at the Capitol that day.
“That’s unacceptable. It alienates a lot of people,” said U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, who was beaten and subjected to racial threats during the final phase of Trump’s coup attempt. “Taking a formal picture at a rally where he’s literally attacking the FBI and the DOJ, your brothers and sisters in law enforcement, by the way … that’s a slap in the face.”
Michael Fanone, a former Washington police officer who suffered a heart attack and traumatic brain injury after being beaten and electroshocked on Jan. 6, had a more blunt assessment of the photo.
“Professionally? It’s unprofessional. It’s improper,” he said. “Personally? Those two or three dozen Pennsylvania state troopers, from the bottom of my heart, can go fuck all the way off.”
Myles Snyder, communications director for the Pennsylvania State Police at its headquarters in Harrisburg, issued the following statement: “PSP members at this particular event were afforded an opportunity to gather for a photograph with the former president. The photograph in question was not officially sanctioned or disseminated by the Pennsylvania State Police. The Pennsylvania State Police does not endorse any political candidate or campaign.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is reportedly investigating the incident, with his press secretary saying, “according to PSP, this was a private photo opportunity with the former president and it was not approved for use by the former president for public purposes.”