(JTA) — David Clarke, labeled an anti-government “extremist” by the Anti-Defamation League when he claimed four months ago that he would be joining the Department of Homeland Security, stepped down as the Milwaukee County sheriff.
Clarke, whom the Anti-Defamation League in May said “should not be given this type of leadership role” because of his record of controversial statements and alleged ties to anti-government groups, announced his resignation on Thursday more than a year before his term ends.
“I have chosen to retire to pursue other opportunities,” Clarke said in a statement, according to The New York Times. “I will have news about my next steps in the very near future.”
Clarke is known for using vitriolic rhetoric in speaking about political adversaries on the left, as well as speech evoking violent situations.
An African-American advocate of gun ownership, Clarke has condemned the Black Lives Matter protest movement as “black scum,” claiming its activists were forming an alliance with the Islamic State terrorist group to destroy America. He also has said he would “grab Democrats by the throat” and called demonstrators against police brutality “vultures on a roadside carcass.”
Joining other groups opposed to Clarke receiving a role in federal government, the ADL warned in a statement in May that an “individual representing such extremist ideologies” reportedly being considered for a senior post is “shameful” and “dangerous.” The ADL urged the Trump administration not to advance his appointment.
According to ADL, Clarke has ties with the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association and the Oath Keepers – a group that ADL described as “an anti-government, right-wing fringe organization” that promotes conspiracy theories.
Homeland Security officials and the White House did not confirm that such a position had indeed been offered to Clarke.