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Controversial Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke says he is joining Trump administration

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Md., last February. (Photo:/Susan Walsh)

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke announced Wednesday afternoon that he would be taking a position in the Department of Homeland Security.

Clarke told Wisconsin radio host Vicki McKenna that he would be leaving his current job for a post in the Department of Homeland Security. Clarke met with President Trump back in November and was considered a potential candidate to run the department, a position that eventually went to Gen. John Kelly.

“The position mentioned is a secretarial appointment,” said a Homeland Security spokesperson in a statement to Yahoo News. “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.”

Clarke, who originally ran for sheriff as a Democrat, has become a hero of the conservative movement and was an early supporter of Trump. His department recently came under fire for the 2016 death of a mentally ill inmate who died of dehydration after deputies withheld water from him for seven days. A jury recommended charges against seven staffers in the jail earlier this month after medical examiners ruled the death a homicide.

Clarke has a long history of controversial statements. He has advocated sending any Americans accused of terrorism to Guantanamo Bay for indefinite detention, compared Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance to the Ku Klux Klan, suggested adding an automatic rifle to the Great Seal of the United States, and called Black Lives Matter “vile” and “slimy.” In an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars, Clarke suggested that an attempt at gun control legislation would start a “second American Revolution.” Clarke spoke at last summer’s Republican National Convention, using the platform to celebrate the acquittal of Baltimore police officers that had been on trial in the death of Freddie Gray.

According to a Daily Beast report, Clarke traveled to Moscow in 2015 as part of a National Rifle Association delegation, where he met with a deputy of President Vladimir Putin.