Days after he called for his supporters to get their “pitchforks and torches,” Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke doubled down on his statement.
Over the weekend, Sheriff Clarke implied that if Donald Trump loses the election, it will be time for Americans to unite. His line about pitchforks and torches led many to believe that he, a prominent law enforcement figure, was calling on private citizens to enact violence against their government.
Clarke repeated that claim on Wednesday morning, less than a day after he was excoriated by his local newspaper. His supposed call for violence came as a critique of a comment recently made by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Sotomayor claimed that her late colleague, Justice Antonin Scalia, said things over the years that made her want to hit him with a baseball bat.
“Big Media must condemn Sotomayor’s desire to do violence like they did about me saying pitchforks and torches time,” Clarke said.
Clarke’s tweet was accompanied by a photo of him sitting on a horse, next to a crudely Photoshopped picture of angry people and fire.
In an editorial about the call for “pitchforks and torches,” the editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called for Clarke to focus more on his duties as Milwaukee County Sheriff and less on his role as a Fox News talking head.
“Nothing could be more irresponsible than an officer of the law posting photographs of vigilantes taking the law into their own hands, as Clarke did to support Trump’s ridiculous and asinine claims that the election process must be rigged if he is losing in the polls,” the paper wrote.
The Journal Sentinel then reminded its readers that an inmate died this year on Sheriff Clarke’s watch after he was reportedly denied access to water.
“Clarke, like his idol Trump, loves the limelight and just can’t get enough of it. He no doubt relished the social media storm set off by his blog and tweets. And he no doubt finds running around the country as a Trump surrogate to be much more fun than being a county sheriff,”the paper wrote. “Which includes such mundane matters as overseeing management of the jail and making sure prisoners don’t die from dehydration, as Terrill Thomas did while other inmates pleaded with guards to get him water.”