In a show of both bad judgment and bad timing, Trump is naming David Clarke as an assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.
For those unfamiliar, Clarke is the current Milwaukee County sheriff. He has a record of making controversial statements and displaying questionable judgment, and also has a pretty significant history of inmate deaths in his jail. As you would expect, Clarke is a frequent Fox News guest and a favorite with many of Trump’s grassroots supporters, because he checks off all the boxes – ignorant, annoying, prejudiced and grating.
Juliette Kayyem, who served as the DHS Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs in the Obama administration, wrote on Twitter that Clarke would be taking her old job, adding: “I am floored. And feel for my career staff.”
This is both bad judgment and bad timing. Bad judgment because Clarke has no national security background, and is basically known as an ill-tempered loose cannon (which is why Trump probably loves him) with a history of calling for an armed revolution against liberals, and calling Black Lives Matter “Black Lies Matter.” And that’s just scratching the surface of the general repugnance of Sheriff Clarke’s personality.
Also, just bad timing. Even as his administration struggles under the weight of the Russia scandal, Trump has picked Clarke for a national security post with DHS, despite the fact that Clarke was part of an NRA group that went to Moscow in 2015 to meet with Dmitry Rogozin, a hardline deputy to Putin, who was sanctioned as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The same sanctions which Michael Flynn discussed possibly lifting in his conversations with Sergei Kislyak, which ultimately led to Flynn’s ouster.
There are a few hundred million people in the U.S. who have never met any of Putin’s inner circle, but Trump picks yet another guy tied to Putin’s people and the sanctions issue that permeates the FBI investigation into his campaign for a national security spot. Who could possibly think this is a good idea? Oh, right. Never mind.