Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke — who once urged civilians to arm themselves because “calling 911 is no longer the best option” — announced Wednesday during an interview with a local radio station that he has accepted a job offer as assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. But DHS has not confirmed it.
Clarke recently made headlines after a jury recommended that two supervisors and five officers at his jail face felony charges for complicity in the death of Terrill Thomas in April 2016. Thomas died from dehydration after he was allegedly deprived of water for seven days straight at the direction of jail officials. A female former inmate also recently filed suit against Clarke and his jail alleging that the negligence of jail officials resulted in her late-pregnancy miscarriage.
But while problems brewed at home in Milwaukee, Clarke and his trademark cowboy hat were gaining a national spotlight as an outspoken Trump surrogate. His knack for outlandish statements have earned him regular spots as a talking head on Fox News over the past year or so. He made an impassioned speech in favor of Trump at the Republican National Convention in July, and, after the election, he was rumored to be in the running to head up the Department of Homeland Security.
Clarke has been particularly vocal about how he thinks the White House ought to handle suspected terrorist sympathizers.
“..Scoop them up, charge them with treason and, under habeas corpus, detain them indefinitely at Gitmo,” Clarke reportedly said in a radio interview in 2015. He has also theorized that Black Lives Matter activists and Islamic State sympathizers were likely to join forces.
Clarke, 60, has also shown himself to be a loyal foot soldier to Trump in terms of immigration policy. He wrote a letter to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in March expressing interest in enrolling in the 287(g) program, which ramps up coordination between federal and local law authorities on immigration enforcement — despite the fact that Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors recently passed a resolution that would make the county a “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants. He also butted heads over immigration policy with the Milwaukee police chief, who favors sanctuary city policies.
A spokesperson for DHS told VICE News that “such senior positions are announced by the Department when made official by the Secretary. No such announcement with regard to the Office of Engagement has been made.”