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AIA CEO’s endorsement of Biden draws fire

June 30, 2020

By William Ehart

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The decision by Aerospace Industries Association CEO Eric Fanning to endorse and campaign for former Vice President Joe Biden is taking flak, Politico reports.

“Defense companies and lobbyists are worried that a top trade group may not be able to represent their interests to the Trump administration after the leader of the association recently endorsed the president’s 2020 rival,” Politico reported Monday.

Fanning, who was appointed by President Barack Obama to become the first openly gay Army secretary, said last week that he supports Biden because the Democrat can repair “our eroded moral leadership around the world.”

Fanning, who has led AIA since January 2018, also praised Biden for his leadership on repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which allowed gay and lesbian troops to serve openly. He joined Biden in a virtual LGBTQ+ veterans event June 25, according to Biden’s campaign website.

Though the endorsement was personal and not made in his official capacity as head of the trade group, Politico reported that the move caused consternation in the aerospace and defense sector and raised questions about partisanship at the group. One lobbyist who insisted on anonymity told Politico that Fanning should resign.

AIA has more than 300 members, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon.

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