Pro-Trump Sheriff With Ties To Militia May Be Joining Homeland Security by the Forward

Pro-Trump Sheriff With Ties To Militia May Be Joining Homeland Security

A Trump-supporting Milwaukee sheriff with ties to antigovernment groups may be headed to the Department of Homeland Security.

Sheriff David Clarke, Jr., will reportedly be named an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security. The agency has not confirmed this.

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.

During that speech, Clarke dismissed the fact that Southern Poverty Law Center had called the Oath Keepers “one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today.”

“Do yourselves a favor, embrace that as badge of honor,” Clarke told the cheering crowd.

Email Sam Kestenbaum at

Sheriff David Clarke Has Ties To The Oath Keepers


Sam Kestenbaum

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 and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.

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Pro-Trump Sheriff With Ties To Militia May Be Joining Homeland Security

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