Previous Homeland Security officials condemn Sheriff David Clarke taking role

Previous Homeland Security officials condemn Sheriff David Clarke taking role
© Getty

Two former government officials who served in President Obama's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday slammed the reported choice of David Clarke to fill a role in the department. 

David Clarke, a Milwaukee County, Wis. sheriff, on Wednesday said he has accepted a role in President Trump's administration as a deputy secretary of Homeland Security. The appointment has not been confirmed.

ADVERTISEMENT

Philip McNamara and Juliette Kayyem each served as the assistant secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at DHS during the Obama administration and railed against their apparent successor on Twitter.

“I'm being replaced @DHSgov by #SheriffClarke. My job was to work with state and local officials. Clarke says he wants to strangle #Democrats,” McNamara said after news broke that Clarke said he accepted the position.

“For those of you I'm just meeting, Clarke is taking my old position under Obama. I am floored. And feel for my career staff,” Kayyem tweeted.

Clarke during a Wednesday interview told radio host Vicki McKenna on 1130 WISN that he accepted a position to work in the Office of Partnership and Programs as a liaison with state, local and tribal law enforcement.

The position facilitates outreach to local law enforcement officials, including the state homeland security advisors. McNamara referenced comments Clarke had previously made about working across party lines.

“Asked about working with Democrats Clarke said he wants to grab them by their throats, I never said that about GOP electeds I worked with,” McNamara said. 

“So much for Sheriff Clarke's ability to work with #Democratic governors and mayors, he is too polarizing and calls critics #snowflakes,” McNamara added.

McNamara also said he felt sorry for the career staff members at DHS.

Clarke, a staunch supporter of increased border security and a crackdown on undocumented immigrants, supported Trump during his presidential campaign and has praised his proposal to build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
 
Earlier this month, a grand jury recommended charges be brought against staff members at the jail Clarke supervises due to the death of an inmate.

A spokesperson for DHS did not confirm Clarke’s hire, but did confirm that the position in question does not require Senate confirmation.

"The position mentioned is a secretarial appointment,” the spokesperson said in an email. Clarke claimed he'd been appointed by DHS Secretary John Kelly.

“Such senior positions are announced by the department when made official by the secretary. No such announcement with regard to the Office of Public Engagement has been made," according to the DHS spokesperson.