By PHILIP MARCELO Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A union representing New York City firefighters is raising concerns about possible disciplinary action against its members after state Attorney General Letitia James was booed and a pro-Donald Trump chant broke out during a fire department ceremony last week.

The Democrat, whose office won a $355 million penalty against the Republican former president for lying about his wealth last month, faced a chorus of jeers as she addressed a department promotions ceremony Thursday in Brooklyn.

"Come on. We're in a house of God," James responded as some in the crowd at the Christian Cultural Center also aggressively chanted Trump's name. "Simmer down."

Fire officials, in an internal note shared widely on social media, called the conduct "grossly inappropriate" and disrespectful to fellow firefighters and their supporters attending the special occasion.

Department members have a right to express their political beliefs, the note stressed, just not on the job.

Thursday's department ceremony wasn't a political event and James wasn't there to give a political speech, but to support Rev. Pamela Holmes as she was sworn in as the department's first Black female chaplain, the department added.

"When you're not on duty, feel however you want about politicians," the note read. "Vote. Protest. That's your right. But don't do it on the job's time, on other members' time, or on their families' time. Do it on your own time."

Officials also urged those who took part in the chants to come forward as department investigators were reviewing video of the incident.

Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association that represents roughly 8,500 active firefighters, said the taunts were "unfortunate" given James has been a strong supporter of firefighters over the years.

But he argued that promotion ceremonies tend to have a "carnival atmosphere," with people sounding air horns and sometimes wearing costumes.

FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh was even booed at one last year, and there was "no hunt, no calls for re-education" from the department, Ansbro said.

"We are concerned that all of our members are going to be disciplined over this," he said, noting that top officials present Thursday never intervened during the heckling.

"The department really needs to sit down and decide what the guidelines are going to be and bring the unions into that so that we can make sure our workers rights are protected," Ansbro said.

Spokespersons for the FDNY and James' office didn't respond to the union's concerns Monday.

FDNY spokesperson Amanda Farinacci said in an email that Thursday's incident remains under investigation. She said fire chiefs visited firehouses over the weekend to remind firefighters about "proper behavior" at department ceremonies.

But retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who was part of then-President Trump's legal team during his 2020 impeachment trial, questioned the department's claim that the firefighters' actions were inappropriate.

"When a politician speaks, it's a political event and booing is constitutionally protected," he wrote in an email Monday.


Follow Philip Marcelo on X, formery Twitter: