Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. — the controversial and conservative Milwaukee county sheriff who is a staunch supporter of President Trump — said Wednesday he’s accepted a position as assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.
But not long after Clarke made his remarks to a local radio station, Department of Homeland Security aides seemed to contradict him and suggest nothing is official yet.
“No such announcement with regard to the Office of Public Engagement has been made,” a spokesperson for the DHS said to BuzzFeed News in regards to Clarke’s remarks. “The position mentioned is a Secretarial appointment. Such senior positions are announced by the Department when made official by the Secretary.”
The official DHS twitter account also echoed this statement on Wednesday afternoon, more than an hour after Clarke’s announcement.
“I will be leaving the position of sheriff to accept an appointment as an assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security,” Clarke said on the radio program. “I’m both honored and humbled to be appointed to this position by Secretary Kelly, working for the Trump administration,” he said.
Clarke also said the position would be in the “office of Partnership and Programs” at the DHS. There is not an office by that name, but there is an Office of Partnership and Engagement at DHS. It is unclear which specific ooffice within DHS Clarke was referring to.
“I will be a liaison with state and local government with the private sector,” Clarke added. “And one that’s really near and dear to me, liaison with the state, local and tribal law enforcement,” he said.
Clarke, who has been increasingly in the national spotlight for his political views and statements has previously called Black Lives Matter protests “primitive” and “subhuman behavior.” During the presidential campaign, he urged people to riot with “pitchforks and torches” to protest the government and the media.
Juliette N. Kayyem, who once held the Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at DHS under former President Obama, tweeted that she was “floored” and that Clarke would be taking her previous job. “For those of you I’m just meeting, Clarke is taking my old position under Obama,” Kayyem wrote. “I am floored. And feel for my career staff,” she added.
BuzzFeed News has also reached out to the White House to confirm Clarke’s claim.
Many positions, including assistant secretary positions at DHS, do not have to be confirmed by the senate.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.
Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2
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