Frequent and incendiary Fox News guest and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has accepted a position with the Trump administration, reports Alan Heuser of US News, USA Today, Politico, and other outlets.
Heuser says Clarke’s Assistant Secretary position is in the Office of Partnership and Programs, which communicates between the Department of Homeland Security and local law enforcement agencies.
CNN’s Jim Acosta reports that the Department of Homeland Security is contesting the news.
Clarke is a prominent Fox News commentator who’s attracted attention for comments like these made at this year’s “Deploraball” inaugural ball: “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.”
In January, he called an anchor for CNN a “jigaboo.” He’s also said, “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,” according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Clarke was first invited on Fox News in 2014 the wake of the killing of Michael Brown and subsequent rioting in Ferguson, Mo., and has been a network presence ever since.
Clarke’s acquisition further aligns the Trump administration and conservative media, of which Donald Trump is known to be an adamant consumer. Another Fox News figure, network host Kimberly Guilfoyle, is reportedly being considered to replace Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Sheriff Clarke has also attracted attention for the police department he helms, which has seen a series of damaging scandals in recent years.
In July 2014, Clarke and his department were the subject of a federal lawsuit that said they sought to frame a sober woman for DUI after a police deputy T-boned her car and nearly killed her. She was too badly hurt to take a sobriety test at the scene, but blood tests showed that the victim of the crash did not drink that night, and traffic cameras proved the police deputy’s story to be false.
Clarke has also been criticized over a series of recent deaths in jails he oversees. Since April 2016, four people have suffered and died in Milwaukee County jails.
Two died after corrections officers refused them detox care. A third man died of dehydration over the period of a week as guards ignored his pleas for help, allowing him to wither and suffer. The latter death was ruled a homicide.
And in December 2016, a mother forced to give birth on the floor of her cell watched her newborn suffer and die without care, according to another federal lawsuit against the department. The suit says Milwaukee County corrections officers didn’t call for help until six hours after the child’s birth.
Sheriff Clarke will not need to be confirmed for the position and is presumed to start immediately.