And BOOM! The sheriff adds the icing on the cake as it was declared that Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who built a following among conservatives with his provocative social media presence and strong support of Donald Trump, said Wednesday that he's taken a job as an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security.
The tough-talking, cowboy hat-wearing firebrand said in an interview with WISN-AM talk radio host Vicki McKenna that he will work in the Office of Partnership and Engagement as a liaison to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies. He will start in June.
Clarke, a registered Democrat but a vocal supporter of Trump, told conservative radio host Vicki McKenna that he will act as an assistant secretary, working in the Office of Partnership and Engagement as a liaison with local police and governments. This would put him at the center of guiding and advising policy for some of Trump’s top priorities, particularly efforts to coerce police into cracking down on unauthorized immigration and ramp up programs that encourage racial profiling.
The problem is Clarke's notorious inflammatory example, with a history of comparing people he disagrees with, to terrorists and allegedly allowing some horrific abuses, including deaths, during his time as Milwaukee County sheriff.
Clarke is perhaps best known for his prolific social media feed and appearances on Fox News, where he regularly blasts liberals, critics of Trump, and — especially — the Black Lives Matter movement’s attempts to draw attention to the vast racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
Although Clarke is himself black, he has also used racial terms against black pundits whom he disagrees with
A lengthy inquest into the dehydration death of a Milwaukee County Jail inmate raised troubling questions about how Clarke manages the jail, just as the White House was said to be considering him for the job. Seven jail staffers could face criminal charges after the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office outlined a case for the jury suggesting that disobedient inmates were routinely deprived of water as punishment and pleas for help were ignored.
Clarke wasn't among the seven staffers on the jury's list because prosecutors say he wasn't directly involved in the events that led to the death last year of 38-year-old Terrill Thomas, who was deprived of water for seven days. But the death happened under his leadership, which his critics said was sufficient cause for Clarke to be fired. Clarke has said little about Thomas' death.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has been moving forward with policies that in effect unleash federal law enforcement and encourage local police to crack down on unauthorized immigrants. Dara Lind explained:
Under President Trump, the risk of deportation isn’t evenly distributed. Some immigrants are more likely to get apprehended and deported than others. But across the board, the risk of deportation is elevated: Few if any unauthorized immigrants (or even, to a certain extent, legal-immigrant noncitizens) are affirmatively 100 percent safe.
No one has ever announced this. Instead, immigrant communities, the institutions that support them, and the media that reports on them have all found ourselves playing detective: finding out about one high-profile case at a time, drawing our own conclusions, and trying to modify behavior accordingly.
Despite the investigation into his jail, Clarke remained popular with many conservatives, including some who had been trying to get him to run for U.S. Senate next year against Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.