MADISON, Wis. — Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is speaking today in Cleveland at the Republican National Convention in advance of Donald Trump’s nomination as the GOP’s 2016 Presidential nominee. While Clarke may be familiar to some from his incomprehensible Fox News appearances, he has a lengthy and embarrassing record of extremism, bombast and incompetence in his time in public office.
“David Clarke is extremist, bombastic and incompetent at his job,” commented One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “David Clarke is the perfect warm-up act at Donald Trump’s nominating convention.”
Among the lowlights of Clarke’s tenure, Ross cited just a small sampling of the jaw-dropping conduct of the man ostensibly in charge of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office:
Absence after a mass shooting at a Sikh temple:
David Clarke was nowhere to be found when one of the worst tragedies in state history struck in Milwaukee County, when a mass shooting occurred at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek. Clarke was notable in his still unexplained absence in which six innocent worshippers were killed and four wounded by a white supremacist madman.
Use of tax dollars to promote vigilantism:
Clarke advised Milwaukee County residents that 9-1-1 was not their best option and instead encouraged them to pursue vigilante style justice. In taxpayer-financed radio ads, Clarke urged citizens to arm themselves and shoot people whom they felt threatened by, calling 9-1-1 only after potentially shooting and killing someone.
Shout out from the Cliven Bundy Ranch standoff:
Clarke was praised at a press conference by Richard Mack, Executive Director of the right-wing Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) at the ranch of extremist rancher Cliven Bundy during his standoff with the federal government. While at the Bundy ranch Clarke’s friend Mack, who according to the Southern Poverty Law Center has ties to right-wing militia groups, advocated for using women as human shields to generate sympathy.
Marriage equality meltdown:
After the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, Clarke took to social media to post, “Next is rage, then revolt.” Not content to stop there, Clarke in a media interview pondered, “… who would have thought that in the 21st century homosexuality would come out of the closet and churches would be forced to go into the closet?” and opined, “If we don’t resist, we can see what is happening before our eyes …” It was also reported that in his radio show he advocated for, “pitchforks and torches” and that, “If you call yourself an American, then you have to start a revolution in this country after what happened last week at the United States Supreme Court.”
Tea Party Sheriff David Clarke declared that, “… blacks sell drugs and involve themselves in criminal behavior instead of a more socially acceptable lifestyle — because they’re uneducated, they’re lazy, and they’re morally bankrupt.”
Support for “nullification” of firearms regulations and other laws:
Clarke is supported by and was named “Sheriff of the Year” in 2013 by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), an organization that encourages local sheriffs to ignore federal laws, like firearm regulations, that they believe are at odds with the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Childish insults of opponents:
Embroiled in a dispute over his office’s budget, Clarke lashed out at the Milwaukee County Executive and accused him of targeting the Sheriff’s office for reductions because of, “penis envy.”
“David Clarke with his speeches filled with bombast, childish insults and advocacy for Tea Party extremism aren’t making anyone safer. His actions and his rhetoric are Exhibit A of the dangerous extremism being abided by the leaders of today’s Republican Party and embodied by their Presidential nominee Donald Trump,” concluded Ross.