Seeing as Donald Trump has given interviews to the likes of Michael Savage and Alex Jones, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Republican presidential nominee called into a radio program being guest-hosted by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke for a 15-minute interview on Thursday afternoon.
Clarke was also invited to speak at last month’s Republican National Convention, an eyebrow-raising choice, since he has a long record of extremism, including support for radical anti-government groups. As we wrote at the time:
While Clarke has no patience for African Americans who have deadly run-ins with the police, he has repeatedly associated himself with anti-government militia groups who have staged armed standoffs with federal government agents or who threaten to defy federal law. Earlier this year, when a group of armed activists took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, Clarke backed their cause, saying that the country had reached a “pitchforks and torches moment” that couldn’t be solved by an election.
In 2013, after he aired his ads discouraging citizens from relying on 911, Clarke accepted the “Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an anti-government group that promotes the idea that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the country and thus have the power to defy federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional. In his acceptance speech , Clarke declared that “government” was the “common enemy” of the “patriots” in the room. In a radio interview that year, he said that “on an everyday basis, to me, federal government is a bigger threat” than terrorism.
Just this year, Clarke spoke at a fundraising event for the New York chapter of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government group aligned with the Constitutional Sheriffs that urges 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. At that event, Clarke called Black Lives Matter a “hate group” and vowed to do “everything I can” to get Trump elected president.
As a few news outlets have reported, Trump promised Clarke on Thursday that he would rescind the Obama administration’s ban on the sale of certain military-grade equipment to local police departments “in a heartbeat.”
Trump effusively praised Clarke in the interview, saying that from the first time he saw Clarke in a Fox News appearance, he knew he was “absolutely terrific” and saying that it was a “great honor” to receive Clarke’s endorsement.