BILLINGS - The former sheriff of Milwaukee County in Wisconsin was the keynote speaker at the recent Yellowstone Valley Republicans Lincoln Reagan Day Dinner.
David A. Clarke Jr. met supporters and signed book “Cop Under Fire” before the dinner, and during his speech, he praised those running for public office.
“Good luck to you,” Clarke said to the candidates. “I know what it’s like having been an elected official myself. It’s hard to stick yourself out there and subject yourself to a lot of ridicule and criticism.”
He emphasized that office holders are serving the public.
“Somebody’s got to step up to serve,” he said. “And that’s what it is. It’s service. Often times, too many people see it as more than service. They overstay their welcome. “
He says he plays smash-mouth politics when he is criticized unfairly for his view on some issues.
“When I hear some of the slanderous names, the mis-characterization of you folks, conservatives, Republicans, as racist, misogynists, homophobes, you know as well as I do, it’s all b.s.,” he said.
Clarke also recognized -- and asked veterans and law enforcement to stand.
He started his career with the Milwaukee Police Department in 1978 and was elected Milwaukee County Sheriff in 2002, serving in law enforcement for almost 40 years.
“There’s no higher honor to get to wear the uniform of your nation,” Clarke said. “Or to wear the uniform of your community in law enforcement to go out and protect and serve.”
He said he dissent is healthy, but resistance and defiance are not.
“We go to Congress, we go to the state legislators and we try to win an argument and convince enough people that these are the policies that this country should be moving toward,” Clarke said. “That’s dissent. That’s healthy and it keeps people honest.”
He says in Washington D.C., there is the swamp, the deep state and career bureaucrats thwarting President Trump’s vision.
“There’s a difference between (dissent) and resistance,” Clarke said. “Outright defiance of the rule of law and the people that you and I elected.”
He said that’s especially the case with defiance against the White House. Clarke talked favorably about the Trump Administration with regard to economy , tax cuts, deregulation, immigration and infrastructure.
“Donald Trump is a president who cares about every single American,” Clarke said. “He said in his inaugural speech that he will always have our back and do what’s right for the American people. He will put America first. “
Clarke retired as Sheriff in August of 2017. He became a senior advisor and spokesman for America First Action, a super PAC supporting the Trump Administration in September.