ADL: Homeland Security post for ‘extremist’ sheriff would be ‘shameful’


(JTA) — Joining critics of Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, the Anti-Defamation League warned his reported consideration for a senior post at the Department of Homeland Security is “shameful” and “dangerous.”

Clarke, who has said he would “grab Democrats by the throat” and whom ADL said has ties to “two anti-government groups well known for trying to recruit law enforcement officers,” said during an interview Wednesday that he has accepted a position within the Trump administration to serve as an assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security. The department said in a statement no decision has been made regarding the reported plan to appoint Clarke.

“An individual representing such extremist ideologies should not be given this type of leadership role and we urge the Trump administration not to go forward with this appointment,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO, said in a statement Thursday.

According to ADL, Clarke has ties with the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association and the Oath Keepers – a group that ADL described as “an anti-government right-wing fringe organization” that promotes conspiracy theories.

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Clarke, who is African American, used harsh language in condemning the Black Lives Matter protest movement, calling it “black scum.”

An individual “representing such extremist ideologies should not be given this type of leadership role,” Greenblatt wrote.

On Thursday, a former assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Partnership and Engagement, Juliette Kayyem, urged Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly not to hire Clarke. In the radio interview, Calrke said he would serve at the Department’s “Office of Partnership and Programs” — an apparent reference to Kayyem’s previous position.

In an open letter to Kelly published on CNN, Kayyem, who had served in the Department under former president Barack Obama, wrote that Clarke’s “divisive rhetoric and action will make him an impossible figure for communities to engage with — and that is a critical part of the job.”

Kayyem, who has Lebanese Christian roots but has raised her three children in the Jewish tradition with her Jewish husband, warned Kelly that at times of crisis, he will “need someone who can look beyond a narrow police focus” and “does not elicit shock, dismay or rejection. That person is not Sheriff David Clarke,” she wrote.