Bruce Murphy
Back in the News

Why Did Sheriff Clarke Resign?

It’s all about his love of Donald Trump -- and the media spotlight.

By - Sep 1st, 2017 11:47 am
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David Clarke and Donald Trump.

David Clarke and Donald Trump.

Some six months ago an associate of David Clarke told me the sheriff was unlikely to run for reelection in 2018. For years now, he has been frequently out of town, even taking college courses in California. Meantime he seemed increasingly disengaged from the department he was ostensibly running, even testifying under oath that he had no idea how many of his staff had been referred for potential criminal charges and that he is not responsible for overseeing medical care at the county jail he runs, despite state laws that say he is.

Clarke’s mismanagement of the jail, which went on for many years, was likely to be a campaign issue against him, along with the suits against him and the county, which resulted in a $6.7 million award for one jail inmate, with other awards possibly still to come.

Meanwhile, Clarke had escalated his rhetoric to a level of demagoguery that would have made it more difficult to get reelected, even threatening to eliminate one citizen while using a vicious racial slur against a CNN contributor.

In short, there were countless reasons not to run for reelection, but why step down now?

Politico did a story Thursday saying Clarke would be taking a job with the administration of President Donald Trump. That was clearly incorrect, but the sources may have been close: the speculation is that Clarke will get a job outside the administration — perhaps funded by some deep pocketed Trump supporter — where he will defend and champion the Donald. “According to a person close to Clarke,” the Washington Post reported, “he is likely to join an outside group that supports the president’s agenda.”

One possible funder of such a job is Robert Mercer, “The Reclusive Hedge Fund Tycoon Behind The Trump Presidency,” as a fascinating story in New Yorker described him. Reports have reached me that a Clarke representative met with Mercer’s well-funded political operation.

Clarke is a huge fan of Trump, and lauded him in a speech at the Republican National Convention last year. He has been a frequent guest on Fox News and was much in demand as a speaker last year during the presidential campaign.

Clarke was under consideration by the Trump administration for the job of assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security and clearly coveted the job, yet withdrew his name from consideration in June. That seemed a face-saving gesture, because he realized the job would never be offered. The Post notes that “those close to the president-elect worried that various scandals and a host of controversial statements would impede the sheriff’s ability to win Senate confirmation.”

The most recent of these scandals was the allegation that he had plagiarized large portions of his master’s thesis, which got coverage nationally by CNN, the Post and New York Times.

An outside job as a Trump champion makes far more sense. As a African American, he provides cover for a president who’s been repeatedly accused of supporting white nationalists, and as a former law enforcement officer, he can support the president’s get-tough-on immigrants policies. Clarke, moreover, is a combative, give-no-quarter, verbal pugilist whose style echoes that of Trump, and he is a media-savvy commentator who will be welcome on Fox News.

Soon we may see dueling Milwaukee demagogues, with Clarke duking it out with his former ally-turned-enemy Charlie Sykes, the new darling on liberal MSNBC and an avowed opponent of Trumpkins who now seems to hate Clarke. Yes, Milwaukee may provide the national media with plenty of hot rhetoric in the months and years to come.

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More about the Resignation of Sheriff Clarke

20 thoughts on “Back in the News: Why Did Sheriff Clarke Resign?”

  1. Crazy Chester says:

    It’s simple really. He wants the $$$$ he can make on the conservative media train. You can get rich pretty easily these days prying money from Trumpskyite rubes. Why should anyone else get that filthy luchre? Nice work if you can get it.The only cost is your eternal soul. Clarke has no need for that anymore.

  2. Vincent Hanna says:

    Yeah he’ll make more for some Super PAC or conservative media outlet than he would in a government job. And he’ll have more freedom to spout off hateful rhetoric without consequence than he would in a government job.

  3. Rich says:

    In short, there were countless reasons not to run for reelection, but why step down now?

    Because then Walker gets to appoint someone ever-so-slightly-awful-in-appearance-only who is then granted the inherent benefits of incumbency for the 2018 election

  4. Rita says:

    ….or he is headed where his intellect and skills will take him, obscurity.

  5. Observer says:

    Maybe he can take over the Wisconsin Conservative Digest.

  6. A Bus Driver says:

    If the people in Milwaukee county are smart who ever Walker appoints be sure to vote them out come election day. In the meantime as far as Clarke goes good riddance may any money he makes all be spent on the lawyers he will need before they “LOCK HIM UP”

  7. nick says:

    I agree with Chester, more or less: there’s too much coin to be made these days for someone at his level of partisan name recognition. He can quadruple his public servant’s income, i bet, in the first six months of his new venture, whatever it may be.

  8. Wisconsin Conservative Dgiest says:

    At first I thought he was afraid of you and your nasty, stupid, racist editorials, but when I told them that, he is still laughing.

  9. Observer says:

    WCD is color blind. I bet he marched with Fr. Groppi so Wauwatosa would pass an Open Housing Bill.

  10. Vincent Hanna says:

    Conservatives moan & groan that liberals call everyone racist. My father-in-law complains about that all the time, that speaking the “truth” gets him labeled a hater and racist by “the left.” Never have I encountered a right-winger who calls everyone a racist all day long. It’s so weird.

  11. Wisconsin Conservative Dgiest says:

    If it fits,wear it Vince.

  12. Crazy Chester says:

    Conservatives today want to have it both ways – they want to be racist without being CALLED racist. They know that being considered racist is bad, but they still want to hold racist opinions (which they try to pass off as the “truth”) and project the racist label back onto liberals.

    They try to deflect racism or homophobia by saying they have “black” or “gay” friends (note WCD’s name-dropping above) while still holding vile, retrograde opinions about them as groups. It’s how they roll.

  13. Wisconsin Conservative Dgiest says:

    Crazy Chester appropriate name. I do remember that it was lincoln freed the slaves, that it was the GOP under Ike that integrated the schools, it was the Dems that formed the KKK and it was Tommy that gave the kids in Milwaukee CHOICE, so they could get educated taking them away from the white, liberal, male racists that run Milwaukee,and it is Scott that is giving them jobs at Amazon, Foz Conn while the Left sends them south, to give them chance.
    Jobs talks and BS walks Chester.

  14. Observer says:

    Who is “them”? Foz Conn. I like it. Thanks Bob.

  15. Crazy Chester says:

    Comparing those Republicans to those of today is like comparing 1957 Braves to the 2017 team. Bob LaFollette was also a Republican. You want to claim that old socialist too?

  16. Crazy Chester says:

    @Observer: isn’t Foz Conn the company run by the Muppet bear who tells lousy jokes?

  17. Observer says:

    @ CC I thought it was the statue thrust upon us on the River Walk.

  18. Wisconsin Conservative Dgiest says:

    too stupid to figure it out ?Tommy and the
    gOP led the way while Dems in Milwaukee keep kids in stupidity and put them in morgue

  19. Crazy Chester says:

    It looks like we’ve upset WCD. Wipe the spittle off your computer screen and take a break from rambling incoherently.

  20. Vincent Hanna says:

    WCD thinks people like him aren’t racist because of Lincoln (dead for 152 years) and school choice. That is priceless. “Sure we have tons of racists in our party and the Republican president has put racists in the White House, but Lincoln.” We might say racist shit all the time, but school choice. You can’t make this stuff up.

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