MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Lt. Bob Kroll, the head of the Minneapolis police union, took the stage prior to President Donald Trump at a downtown rally Thursday night, praising the president for standing behind law enforcement.

“The mayor said the President wasn’t welcome but the Police Federation of Minneapolis begs to differ,” Kroll told the rally crowd.

Kroll, the president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, wore a bright red “Cops for Trump” T-shirt, and spoke at Target Center about how the president supports police departments across the country as they face scrutiny following years of high-profile police shootings.

“The Obama administration and the handcuffing and oppression of police was despicable,” Kroll said. “The first thing President Trump did when he took office was turn that around … he decided to start let cops do their job, put the handcuffs on the criminals instead of (on) us.”

The Minneapolis police union began selling the “Cops for Trump” shirts this week as a form of protest against a new city policy that bars officers from wearing their uniforms in support of political candidates.

Kroll says the new policy, which was announced the same day as the date for the “Keep America Great” rally, was politically motivated. He says that when President Barack Obama came to town, officers were allowed to stand behind him in uniform. City leaders, on the other hand, say that the new policy takes politics out of policing.

The proceeds from the “Cops for Trump” shirts are going to charity, the police union says.

“Debate the facts with the left,” Kroll closed. “And when their facts don’t hold up for their debate, wait to be called a racist. That’s the easy way out, right? Label. The all-accepting left, ‘Everybody’s welcome here, if you think like we do.'”

Hours later, Kroll was called back up on stage by Trump to cheers from the audience.

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