EXCLUSIVE: Current and former police chiefs in more than 53 cities across the country, as well as the National Fraternal Order of Police, are endorsing the nomination of Vanita Gupta — President Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general — praising her leadership and record and urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to “quickly confirm her” to the post.
Biden nominated Gupta last month to serve as the third-highest-ranking official at the Justice Department. Gupta served as acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department during the Obama administration, and, if confirmed, would be the first woman of color to serve in the role as associate attorney general.
Fox News has obtained a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in support of Gupta.
“We are current and former police chiefs and sheriffs from some of the largest and diverse cities all over the country: Nashville, Raleigh, New Orleans, Tucson, Philadelphia, New York, Washington DC, Seattle, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, Boston, Dubuque County (IA), Milwaukee, Dallas, East Palo Alto, Columbus, Camden, Dekalb County, Ann Arbor, and Hennepin County,” the letter read.
The chiefs wrote that “collectively, we have served over 1,000 years alongside the men and women in blue, with the sole mission of protecting and serving the communities that we live in and love.”
“We know Ms. Gupta well,” they wrote, noting that she is “no stranger to police issues, having cut her teeth working on a police misconduct case as a young lawyer in Texas, and later leading the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, where she undertook investigations fo Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Chicago police departments o ensure there was constitutional policing in those departments.”
The chiefs wrote that Gupta has “demonstrated a seriousness and willingness to understand the intense challenges, and even dangers, facing police officers with the intent of improving policing at large without degrading the overwhelming number of brave and honorable police officers.”
They praised her as having proven to be a “strategic problem solver, who is animated by a desire to build greater trust in our communities and make things better.”
“It is this solutions-oriented approach that we believe will serve Ms. Gupta extraordinarily well as Associate Attorney General,” they wrote, adding that they believe “local law enforcement always does well when there is a healthy partnership” with the Justice Department.
“We are confident that under Ms. Gupta’s leadership, the Justice Department will be a valuable partner to law enforcement organizations all throughout the country,” they wrote, urging the Senate to “quickly confirm her.”
Fox News also obtained a letter sent to Durbin and Grassley by the president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, Patrick Yoes, calling Gupta a “strong defender of civil rights.”
“The FOP has maintained an ongoing collaborative dialog that reflected a working relationship with Ms. Gupta which began in 2014 when she took the leadership role in the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice,” Yoes wrote.
Yoes said that during her time at DOJ under the Obama administration, Gupta “was in regular contact with the FOP on matters of mutual concern or interest” and said she “always worked with us to find common ground even when that seemed impossible.”
“Although in some instances our disagreements remain, her open and candid approach has created a working relationship that is grounded in mutual respect and understanding,” Yoes wrote.
“This extensive interaction with Ms. Gupta over a period of years informs our belief that, if confirmed as Associate Attorney General, she will continue her practice of working with us to find solutions,” Yoes wrote “on behalf of the more than 356,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police.”
The endorsements of Gupta come after Biden’s pick for attorney general, Judge Merrick Garland, completed his confirmation hearing. Gupta’s confirmation hearing is slated for March 9.
Some conservatives have zeroed in on Gupta and are working to torpedo the nomination.
Judicial Crisis Network called Gupta “a dangerous appointee at a dangerous time,” alleging her selection breaks Biden’s promise of “unity.”
“She supports defunding the police, led a group that wants to reduce punishments on white supremacists, even terrorists,” it says. “When our cities burned, Gupta could have stood for law and order for victims. Instead, she advocated to let convicts out of jail.”
JCN will spend $800,000 on television ads for its campaign that will be focused mainly but not exclusively on the D.C. market.
JCN President Carrie Severino told Fox News earlier this month that picks like Gupta represent left-wing, “dark money” groups “cashing in at every level of staffing in the administration” after spending vast amounts of money supporting Biden’s candidacy.
But Senate Democrats have praised Gupta, with Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., saying she “has demonstrated a strong commitment to civil rights and racial justice issues throughout her career and is eminently qualified to serve as Associate Attorney General.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.