Back when he was a regular on Fox News, then-Sheriff David Clarke’s main schtick involved vicious attacks on Black Lives Matter and the progressive movement, all of which led to Donald Trump very nearly naming him to a top seat in the Department of Home Security.
Clarke, the onetime sheriff of Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, was denied that spot, for reasons—mainly related to his propensity to spout conspiracy theories and “constitutionalist” nonsense—that became all too apparent over the weekend, as Clarke (who has over 900,000 followers) took to Twitter to denounce measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus as “government control” (nefariously manipulated by George Soros) and urging readers to “take the streets” in defiance of it.
“GO INTO THE STREETS FOLKS. Visit bars, restaurants, shopping malls, CHURCHES and demand that your schools re-open. NOW! If government doesn’t stop this foolishness…STAY IN THE STREETS. END GOVERNEMNT CONTROL OVER OUR LIVES. IF NOT NOW, WHEN? THIS IS AN EXPLOITATION OF A CRISIS,” Clarke tweeted on Sunday.
That tweet remained up on Monday. However, Twitter had removed three of his related tweets.
“It is now evident that this is an orchestrated attempt to destroy CAPITALISM. First sports, then schools and finally commercial business,” he warned in one since-deleted tweet. “Time to RISE UP and push back. Bars and restaurants should defy the order. Let people decide if they want to go out.”
Clarke’s first tweet, also removed, along these lines was mostly venting: “I am TIRED of all this, ‘we have to err on the side of caution’ BULL SH*T. WE HAVE TO GET BACK TO REASONABLENESS DAMMIT. It’s the DAMN FLU. Stop being afraid and start being SENSIBLE. WASH YOUR FUCK*NG HANDS! STOP BUYING TOILET PAPER. DO YOU FUC*ING HEAR ME????”
In short order, however, he shifted to figuring out a way to blame liberals for the pandemic’s spread. “Folks, the LEFT has collapsed our institutions that have served us in times of trouble,” he tweeted. “TAKE … TO … THE … STREETS. That is the battlefield the LEFT has defined. I will no longer sit back and watch the destruction of this great republic over the FLU.” (Twitter also deleted that tweet.)
Clarke—who has participated in the anti-Semitic attacks on financier George Soros in the past—also directed his ire at the Jewish man he believes is the “puppet master” behind “the left”: “Not ONE media outlet has asked about George Soros’s involvement in the FLU panic. He is SOMEWHERE involved in this,” he tweeted Sunday.
None of this comes as a particular surprise to anyone who has followed Clarke’s career. He first rose to fame in right-wing circles as a “constitutionalist” closely associated with extremists such as Richard Mack and his Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, the antigovernment organization that promotes the posse comitatus-derived belief, among others, that the county sheriff is the supreme law enforcement entity in the United States.
Not only is Clarke a member in good standing with the CSPOA, he was named its “Sheriff of the Year” in 2013, and addressed its annual convention. His speech openly endorsed the organization’s radical interpretation of the Constitution, and he called its members “the true patriots.” Clarke also emphasized his view that “our common enemy” is “the government.”
Clarke’s subsequent career as a frequent guest on Fox News included segments featuring vicious attacks on President Obama, whom he claimed was attempting to foment racial unrest due to his “divisive policies,” as well as accusing Obama of waging a “war on cops.” He was especially vicious in his attacks on black activists and the Black Lives Matter movement, describing them as “scum” and “subhuman” and calling for their eradication.
Eventually, after the DHS role was turned away, Fox News quietly scrubbed him from their contributor rolls.