Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is reportedly taking on a role in the Department of Homeland Security.
According to US News reporter Alan Neuhauser, Clarke says that he will “accept an appointment as an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security.” Clarke had previously met with Trump in November 2016, and more recently, there was some speculation that he could be a candidate for FBI director.
David Clarke has been a highly controversial figure, so what are his political views, exactly? Where does he line up with President Donald Trump? Here’s what you need to know.
1. He Is a Registered Democrat
David Clarke is registered as a Democrat and has run for office as a member of that party.
However, Clarke’s political views line up much more closely with the Republican party, and Clarke has been accused of running as a Democrat just because Milwaukee County is mostly Democratic.
“Most of us figured this out long ago,” The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel said in July 2014. “Clarke is to the right of most righties, but he has to run as a Democrat to win in Democratic-heavy Milwaukee County.”
Clarke doesn’t make it sound like he is a Democrat, either. For instance, at a presidential inauguration ball in January, Clarke joked that he would only reach across the aisle to work with Democrats to grab one by the throat, suggesting he is not a Democrat himself.
“You may know me, you may not,” Clarke said at the time, according to AOL. “I am one of those bare-knuckle fighters. When I hear people say we need to reach across the aisle and work with the Democrats, you know what I say? The only reason I’ll be reaching across the aisle is to grab one of them by the throat.”
On his website, David Clarke has said that he doesn’t think the sheriff election should be political and so it shouldn’t matter what party he runs as.
“I have never asked a person to vote for me because I run as a Democrat,” he says. “I ask them to vote for me based on my 35-year commitment to keeping citizens safe. Most voters get it when it comes to public safety. There is no Democrat or Republican way to be a sheriff. The enemy is not the opposing party; the enemy is the criminal.”
2. He Is Pro-Gun & Supports the National Rifle Association
David Clarke has frequently talked about being pro gun, feeling that everyone should own a weapon.
“This is the world we live in now, [and Americans] are scared, but being scared is not enough,” Clarke said in September 2016, according to Breitbart. “I say, you can hide under the bed, you can do all this other stuff, but you can fight back. And the more these individuals, these perpetrators, realize that somebody is going to quickly be able to counter their nonsense, I think you’ll see less [of these attacks]. If nothing else, you’ll be able to play a role in saving your own life.”
In fact, Clarke has said that citizens should sometimes take matters into their own hands rather than calling 911.
“With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option,” Clarke said in an ad, according to the Milwaukee-Wisonsin Journal Sentinel. “You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. But are you prepared?”
In 2015, Clarke appeared in a TV ad for the National Rifle Association.
“We are the American police officer,” he said. “We stand with the National Rifle Association of America, and the NRA stands with us.”
3. He Believes That Black Lives Matter is a Hate Group
David Clarke has said that he believes Black Lives Matter is a hate group.
“It’s dangerous, it’s hateful, and I wish the Southern Poverty Law Center would add them to the list of hate groups in America,” Clarke said in an interview with Fox News in 2016.
He also said that the people who comprise Black Lives Matter are racist and “slimy people.”
“That is a separatist movement,” he told Fox News. “We’ve gotten away from that in the United States. The American people decided they don’t put up with that crap anymore.”
In July 2016, Clarke wrote an op-ed for The Hill titled “This is a war, and Black Lives Matter is the enemy.”
“Americans watching the news of the murders of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, are observing a civil war unfold within our borders,” he said. “A war between rule of law and anarchy-seeking hate…It’s time to come to the aid of our police, our front-line soldiers, by calling this war, and not terrorism. Avoiding the truth through wordsmithing – the false narrative of the lone-wolf – is contemptible as more innocent officers perish while our politicians hem and haw.”
4. He Said That Barack Obama Is Anti-Cop
Throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, David Clarke was a frequent critic of the 44th president, especially when it came to the issues of race and police.
“With what he’s done to set this whole country on fire with his race politics, he should just leave it alone,” Clarke told Fox News in July 2016.
Clarke went on to say that Obama is “anti-cop.”
In another interview following the murder of three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Clarke blamed this in part on Barack Obama, saying that Obama lead to an increase of anti-police sentiment in the United States.
“President Obama has been the maestro,” Clarke told Fox Business. “He has led course and fanned the flames of anti-police sentiment that is sweeping this country,” Clarke said on Varney & Co.”
Clarke also called on Obama to denounce the “the anti-cop sentiments spewed by this hateful ideology Black Lives Matter.”
In an interview with Sean Hannity in 2016, Clarke said that Obama constantly rubbed the stain of slavery in white people’s noses.
“This guy has continually, continually for eight years rubbed the stain of slavery, rubbed white peoples’ nose in the stain of slavery,” Clarke said. “He’s done it for eight years.” “He’s about 150 years removed from slavery. Nobody said forget about it, but you have to be able to move on at some point. And he will not allow America to do that.”
5. He Was a Strong Supporter of Donald Trump
During the 2016 election, David Clarke was a very vocal supporter of Donald Trump.
In fact, Clarke delivered a passionate speech at the Republican National Convention in July 2016.
“Donald Trump is the steadfast leader our nation needs,” Clarke said. “He has spoken passionately to me about his belief in our American system of justice, and he speaks to the values that are the foundations of our social contract.”
Clarke went on to praise Trump for being a supporter of law enforcement.
In January, David Clarke said on Twitter that one of the most satisfying achievements of his life was helping Donald Trump become president, adding that Trump already became a great president less than a week into office.
“I support Donald Trump and the decisions that he’s making,” Clrarke said. “…President Trump understands what leadership is. He understands that, along with Jeff Sessions, the FBI has suffered some credibility issues recently, and that’s not good. So the only thing that matters is what the president thinks and the attorney general thinks.”