David Clarke announced on Tuesday that he is taking a position with a super PAC, America First Action, supporting President Donald Trump. Clarke’s announcement ends the speculation about his future that began with his resignation as Milwaukee County Sheriff on August 31.

“David Clarke is an American patriot, and we are very proud to welcome him to America First,” Brian O. Walsh, President of America First Action, said in a statement to the Associated Press.

Glenn Thrush of the New York Times reported Clarke was seeking a position with the Trump Administration but was blocked by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

The Daily Beast also reported Clarke’s ambition to join the Trump Administration was blocked by Kelly due to controversies surrounding the conditions at the Milwaukee County Jail:

Though Clarke had been discussed for a possible White House communications or outreach role, Kelly’s position as chief of staff made the arrangement a “non-starter,” as one senior White House official put it. Earlier this year, while serving as DHS Secretary, Kelly had informed Clarke that an appointment to that department would not happen in part due to scandal surrounding the treatment of inmates in Clarke’s jail, and the ensuing negative media attention. According to two sources familiar with the discussions, this led to Clarke formally “rescinding” his intention to join the Trump administration in mid-June.

Clarke had announced in May he was taking a position with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) but no formal offer by the cabinet department was made. Then CNN found that Clarke plagiarized parts of his masters thesis for Homeland Security. Meanwhile, controversies around the deaths of inmates at the county jail began to receive national attention. Clarke announced in June that he was withdrawing his name from consideration.


Acting Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt held a press conference on Tuesday to announce he would ask the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) to send a technician to review all Milwaukee County Jail operations. Schmidt also froze spending at the department.

“I want to get spending back under control and do whatever we can to attempt to get the budget out of red ink,” Schmidt said. He also said he would be meeting with Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and the county budget director Steven Kreklow on Thursday to discuss how to bring the sheriff’s office budget back into balance.

Schmidt will serve as acting sheriff until Governor Scott Walker appoints Clarke’s successor. Schmidt said he will wait until the governor announces he is accepting applications for the position before deciding whether to apply for the appointment.


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