A Trump-supporting Milwaukee sheriff with ties to antigovernment groups may be headed to the Department of Homeland Security.
Clarke is perhaps best known for his very critical — and controversial — comments on Black Lives Matter and has been a vocal supporter of Trump during the presidential election. Critics also allege that four people, including a baby, have died in a jail he runs.
He has ties to two “anti-government” groups — one of them a large organization of militiamen called the Oath Keepers, according to a blog post from the Anti-Defamation League.
Though not a member of the militia, Clarke is sympathetic to their movement and in 2016, Clarke accepted a “Leadership Award” from the New York chapter of the Oath Keepers.
According to the website Right Wing Watch, the Oath Keepers “urge law enforcement officers and military personnel to defy laws they believe are unconstitutional and encourages its members to form militias ready to defy an out-of-control federal government.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center writes that the Oath Keepers “claims only to be defending the Constitution,” but “the entire organization is based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government working to destroy the liberties of Americans.” The Oath Keepers reportedly claim tens of thousands of present and former law enforcement officials and military veterans as members.
“Do yourselves a favor, embrace that as badge of honor,” Clarke told the cheering crowd.
This story "Sheriff David Clarke Has Ties To The Oath Keepers" was written by Sam Kestenbaum.
Sam Kestenbaum is a contributing editor and former staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.