DC firefighters' appearance with Obama under review
February 23rd, 2013
09:03 AM ET
10 years ago

DC firefighters' appearance with Obama under review

(CNN) - Washington firefighters who stood with President Barack Obama at a public appearance Tuesday are now under investigation by their department.

The firefighters joined the president at a news conference to illustrate the impact forced spending cuts would have on police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders.

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The White House sent a request to the International Association of Fire Fighters, said Ed Smith, president of DC Fire Fighters Association Local 36. Firefighters are routinely requested for events such as 9/11 memorial ceremonies and it has "never been a problem," Smith said. "It leads us to question the chief's motives."

In a statement to CNN, DC Fire & EMS Chief Kenneth Ellerbe wrote, "At the request of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, DC FEMS is simply reviewing its internal protocols for such appearances to ensure that both the Department and its employees are fully informed.

"The DC Fire and EMS Department is not considering any disciplinary action against uniformed personnel for appearing alongside President Obama," Ellerbe wrote.

Smith is frustrated by the department's actions.

"I am proud of our members. They represent our city and our country and they shouldn't be under fire," Smith told CNN.

"We fully support the efforts of the President to highlight the essential and life saving work that our first-responders do every single day, and welcome his invitation for our members to participate. We're exceedingly proud of the men and women that wear the DC FEMS uniform, and thank the President for his support," Ellerbe wrote.

Filed under: Budget • President Obama
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Donna

    It is about time this happened. Obama has used public employees as his political campaign props for 5 years with the help of his union toadies. If union leaders can't tell the difference between a memoral event and a campign event used to attack and demonize ones political opponents, then they need to be fired. ANd this whole thing is a total SHAM and CON by Obama and the Democrats. LOCAL TAXES pays for these people, NOT federal money. Wake up America!! You are being conned and lied to every day by this dishonest, incompetent president.

    February 23, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  2. Ed1

    Your union buddies at their best.

    February 23, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  3. HenryMiller

    "...to illustrate the impact forced spending cuts would have on police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders."

    Typical government... When told they have to quit spending so much money, the first thing they do is threaten to fire the few people in government who actually do anything useful. No mention of firing the annoying drones at the driver's license and car registration offices. Nothing about cutting in half the size of the staffs of that collection of clowns known as "Congress." Instead, they threaten to make the cuts in such a way as to inconvenience and endanger the greatest possible number of people.

    February 23, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  4. cbr

    Now people are getting ridiculous. The firefighters appearance puts a face onto the "sequester" problem. D.C. will be looking to make cuts just as every other city, town and state plus federal agencies. Somehow we are not taking this as seriously as we should. Congress only meets three days a week and then they rarely do any business. Would you be able to work those hours and get paid?

    It is time for Senators, Representatives and the Cabinet leaders and the President to meet and work together until they can solve this. The Congressional leaders need to stop grandstanding and do their jobs. The American people cannot afford to see the economy decline again. The elected officials will not take the cuts. They will receive their salaries, perqs, etc. They will get their flights back to their states where they can let us all know how serious they are. We need to let them know that they are part of the problem now and not part of the solution. This has been going on for far too long and is left over from the last session of Congress.

    February 23, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. yanni

    Where they will stop to undermined the President and the presidency? It is get ridicules day by day as the GOPs running out of rational for their actions.

    February 23, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. Kathryn Harlan

    What a con job Obama does on the American public! Firefighters and police are mainly paid by local taxes not federal with the exception of probably DC. Sick of the sky is falling mentality by Democrats who only want more taxes from maybe the rich today but tommorrow the middle class. Bring on the sequester that Obama once supported and now claims its the end of the world. This federal employee knows its long over due for the benefit of our economic future stability! He supports austerity in Europe, but not in the U.S.??

    February 23, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  7. Tony in Maine

    Of course they are. Were they soldiers standing behind GWB, they'd be patriots, but they're first responders standing with Obama, so they're doing something wrong,

    February 23, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  8. Kathryn Harlan

    I WORK FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND I PAY TAXES. I love my job, but I am well aware that this government needs a serious wake call to its spending. If sequestration comes as it should I will continue to provide the services the public expects. What concerns me is that managers and administratiors will make choices to cut services to the public to try and exploit the situation. Already we have had meetings warning us of layoffs..but no layoffs absurd positions added to our agency. So I am suppose to be angry over sequestration knowing full well that my own agency wastes money on dumb and silly jobs?? Funny how all these cuts never affect our bloated management team!!

    February 23, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Patrica

    I'll never understand. You people always talk about the stupid party (GOP), but you continue to vote them in office.
    Now who is stupid?

    February 23, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. jpmichigan

    Now, lets get this finally straight. In 2011 the President on the advise of Jack Lew ( called it the TRIGGER) decided on the Sequester bill, they presented it to Reid who then pushed the bill through the Senate, sent it to the House , who then passed it. It then went to the President who sign it in to LAW. Now Jay Carney states on CNN, " It wasn't supposed to happen". Obama then several times , if anyone tries to change the Law, I will veto it. Now Obama and the Democrats are crying foul, and using any means possible to shoot down their own LAW (The Sequester) and blame the Republicans for allowing this to happen on March 1, 2013. Please I hope our Congress as the guts to let it happen and let the President and his administration take the fall. Acting in haste to get what you want, doesn't always work Mr. President and you leadership has caused the SEQUESTERE.

    February 23, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. John

    Local taxes pay firefighter salaries, but SAFER grants by the federal govt keep thousands of firefighters employed. And anyone who thinks republicans are a friend to emergency responders is delusional.

    February 23, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. enuff

    Bush posed with military. Romney posed with miners. (Forced by their employer btw) These firefighters can also stand with the President. Besides, permission was asked beforehand. These individuals also can use this as a form of free speech in participating. No where does it say they were told to stand there or face reprimands. Thank you for put American faces to the problems people are having. Maybe it will make congress see beyond their ivory walls.

    February 23, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. jack878

    Obama got his tax increases, but he won't cut spending. This is mostly Obama fault. We need a leader not a finger pointer.

    February 23, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |