On Saturday, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke withdrew his name from consideration for the position of Assistant Secretary for the Office of Partnership and Engagement at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), according to The Washington Post. If he had accepted the position, Clarke would have served as DHS’ liaison with state, local and tribal law enforcement and governments across the country.
HRC strongly opposed Clarke’s appointment to this position. Clarke has a long and extensive anti-LGBTQ record. He said that the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize marriage equality nationwide would result in a conservative revolt against President Obama’s “socialist agenda.” He condemned Democrats and advocates for calling on sensible gun safety measures; following the tragic shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub that took lives of 49 people. He said on his right-wing podcast that transgender people “suffer from mental disorders” and “live freakish lifestyles” and said a supportive mother of a transgender elementary school student was guilty of "child abuse."
After reports surfaced that Clarke was going to be appointed to this position, HRC coordinated a letter with the Anti-Defamation League, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Muslim Advocates, National Council of La Raza, and National Urban League calling on President Donald Trump and DHS Secretary John F. Kelly not to go forward with the appointment.
In addition to citing his anti-LGBTQ record, the letter also included information on his Islamophobic views, support for “tough-on crime” measures that have contributed to mass incarceration in the country and disproportionately targeted African American men, and his well-documented ties to anti-government extremist movements. In addition, Clarke has referred to Black Lives Matter as a terrorist group, opposes hate crime laws, and is currently the subject of several lawsuit alleging abuse in his jails.
We need an Assistant Secretary in the Office of Partnership and Engagement who can bridge divides and work with diverse law enforcement across the country to keep America safe, and Sheriff Clarke would not have been that Assistant Secretary. Now that Clarke has withdrawn from consideration, HRC urges President Trump to appoint someone who has a history of working with diverse communities and is committed to improving police-community relations.