Sheriff Cole attends meeting with Trump

April 4, 2024

President Trump shakes hands with Sheriff Cole

GRAND RAPIDS — When former President Donald Trump visited Michigan earlier this week, Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole was among the 14 Michigan sheriffs who met with the expected Republican presidential candidate.

Cole, a Republican, said he was initially going to turn down the invitation.

“I knew that there would be some people from our area who would make a big deal about it, so I didn’t really want the hassle,” Cole said. “But, then I watched what played out in New York City with the wake of Officer Diller.”

Cole was referring to New York Police Department Officer Jonathan Diller who was killed last month when investigating an illegally parked vehicle. The alleged killer, Guy Rivera, 34, has 21 prior arrests and was on parole until last year after serving a five-year sentence on a drug conviction.

While Diller’s wake was happening in New York, President Joe Biden attended a multi-million dollar fundraiser, Cole said. Trump attended the wake, at the request of Diller’s family.

“I watched that situation play out,” Cole said. “Here was the sitting President of the United States who could have easily taken a half hour of his time to give his condolences. He was there, in the city, and he could have sent a very powerful message to law enforcement, that he cares. But, he chose not to be there. Donald Trump, on the other hand, was there.

“To me, this isn’t about politics. It’s about showing support for law enforcement and standing up for the victims. I don’t care which political party the candidate belongs to, if that candidate supports law enforcement, I will support that candidate.”

Cole said he and the other sheriffs met with Trump in a small room where Trump asked them several questions, took notes, and asked several more follow-up questions.

“He talked to us about the Officer Diller case and used first names of Officer Diller, his wife and 1-year-old child. It was personal to him. It was quite emotional, actually.”

When Trump came out to speak to an audience, flanked by the sheriffs, Cole stood a few feet from the former President.

“He gave a 45 minute speech, with no teleprompter,” Cole said. “He had a little notepad with some speaking points. Otherwise, he had his entire speech memorized. He knew the names of the sheriffs who he introduced. Had them memorized.”

Cole said he has naturally received some backlash from opponents of the 45th President.

“Last year, I attended President Biden’s State-of-the-Union address at the invitation of Congressman (John) Moolenaar,” Cole said. “I believed it was an honor to hear the sitting President speak. Days after I returned I attended the local Republican meeting. Not one person criticized me for attending an address by the Democratic president.”

Cole, who is on the board of directors of the National Sheriffs’ Association, said he believes Trump’s policies toward law enforcement and victims’ rights are better than Biden’s.

“I was in Washington, D.C. a few months ago for a meeting of the sheriff’s association,” Cole said. “From our meeting location, you could literally see the White House. President Biden was invited to attend the meeting. He didn’t even send a staffer to represent him. I think that speaks volumes about his attitude toward law enforcement.”


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