Why Clarke Is Wrong About Trump
The sheriff’s defense of the president is out of touch with reality.
Give Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County his due: he was an early supporter of Donald Trump during his campaign for president. And now, the sheriff (himself embattled) is doubling-down on his support for the controversial commander-in-chief, even as Trump faces mounting criticism and possible impeachment for a plethora of issues.
Clarke sent this tweet out on Tuesday evening, defending the president against the so-called “establishment” that’s trying to ruin his presidency.
The continued attacks on our President is the establishment trying to nullify the will of We the People who elected him to lead this country pic.twitter.com/sJO1Akvn2s
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) May 17, 2017
That’s quite a mouthful, so let’s break it down:
First, the “attacks on our president” are wholly appropriate (to borrow a phrase from Team Trump). The president faces scrutiny for a variety of mishaps and problems during his first few months in office, but as I see it these are the biggest concerns as of late:
- Trump fired former FBI director James Comey. While spokespeople for his administration cited Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails as rationale for his ouster, Trump himself said in an interview with Lester Holt that his firing had everything to do with the direction Comey was taking the investigation into possible Russian collusion with Trump’s presidential campaign. His firing screams obstruction of justice.
- Russian pictures in the Oval Office, and sharing classified info. One day after firing Comey — again, for continuing an investigation into Russian connections to his campaign — Trump actually met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The meeting was behind closed doors, without any U.S. media present. But Russian photographers from their state media service took plenty of photographs, posting the images to social media just moments later. Trump also shared classified information with the Russians, obtained from Israeli intelligence, a move that while technically legal is dangerously stupid.
- The Comey Memo. And it was revealed Tuesday that Trump had pressured Comey to end the investigation into Michael Flynn, who had met with Kislyak before Trump assumed office, allegedly to talk about lifting American sanctions on Russia once Flynn was in as National Security Advisor. His improper contacts with Russians, his failure to disclose money earned while in Russia and Turkey, and his lying about it to Trump officials, led to Trump asking for his resignation. Comey wrote in a memo that Trump had urged him to drop the investigation of Flynn after Flynn left the White House, and before Comey was fired.
Any objective observer would see the facts outlined above and think, “yes, those actions by the president warrant further inspection.” And that’s being generous — many would read the above and think much worse. But Clarke? Criticizing Trump for those actions are attacks.
Next, let’s look at Clarke charging that the “establishment” is behind the attacks of Trump. Who does he mean here?
Democrats? They’re out of power. They are the minority in both houses of Congress. They control barely a handful of governorships and statehouses. And they are being joined by more Republicans daily in their calls for investigating Trump, including Republican Mike Gallagher, who represents the 8th Congressional District of Wisconsin. The “political” attacks are becoming bipartisan as more is revealed about Trump.
So who is the establishment? It’s an imaginary bogeyman. Just as Trump said he would “drain the swamp,” Clarke wants to focus on a character of his imagination that’s seemingly going after the president. Truth is, the president is responsible for his own downfall.
Finally, Clarke says that this imaginary establishment is trying to disrupt the will of “We the People.” This is perhaps the most laughable part of Clarke’s short Twitter rant — a plurality of Americans didn’t select Trump to be president in the first place. He did win the Electoral College, but by a count of more than three million votes Hillary Clinton was the preferred choice of “We the People.”
But much more than that, Clarke implies that anyone upset with how elected leaders govern is trying to disrupt the will of the people. So what was Clarke, Trump, et. al. doing before 2017? Looking back at their statements and tweets from that time, it’s clear to see that they hardly accepted who “We the People” elected (former President Barack Obama), frequently expressing themselves in vehement outbursts how they felt the country was going down the gutter.
And that’s fine — it was Clarke’s right to do so at the time. But turning that around and suggesting criticism of Trump is “trying to nullify the will of We the People” is hypocritical.
Donald Trump is in serious trouble. Liberals and progressives have seen the problems with Trump for quite some time, and now some conservatives are starting to open up their eyes to the problems this president has presented as well.
Clarke is choosing to remain blind to what the president has done. He has the right to choose willful blindness, but he’s wrong to believe he and other Trump supporters are the victims of a made-up establishment’s attacks on the president.