Unless you watched his speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention, you might not know much about Mr. Clarke. Nominally a Democrat, he was appointed Milwaukee County Sheriff by Republican Acting Governor Scott McCallum in 2002; while the Democrats were figuring out that he wasn't really one of them, Republicans with no local races of their own have been free to cross over to make sure he won every primary since then.
He has spent his tenure attacking every other elected Democratic official and endorsing Republican ones. Clarke hasn't been in town much lately; tired of just being the darling of Milwaukee AM radio, he's been working hard to take his shtick national. (There's also the pesky matter of inquests into some deaths including one of a newborn infant in his prison, which he has been happy to escape. The inquests, I mean, not the prison.)
And now he says he's been named Department of Homeland Security’s liaison to state and local authorities— although that's news that DHS and the guy currently in that position haven't heard from the White House.
Twitterer Charles Clymer, a genderqueer army veteran, and writer, noticed that the pins and medals festooning Sheriff Clarke's uniform when he appears in public were not ones that he had earned.
“Look at this fucking guy’s uniform,” Clymer said, in the second of a long string of tweets on the subject. “You see all that shit pinned all over his dress uniform jacket? That’s not supposed to be there.” Clymer went on to break down each individual medal, their placement and their apparently spurious provenance. Clymer acknowledged that legitimate medals are earned, and should be worn with pride, but accuses Clarke of “stolen valor” and calls Clarke’s collection, “a sloppy assortment of badge replicas arranged neatly, [that] looks imposing.”Clymer's not the only one noticing that Clarke's medals aren't exactly, shall we say, kosher.
Clymer’s Twitter rant led Daniel Sieradski (a former JTA staffer) to review Clarke’s photos. He found one where the sheriff is sporting the insignia of Israel’s traffic police. ...
Clarke may have received the pin when he toured Israel and Russia in 2015, in what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported was a trip funded by the National Rifle Association.
Okay, it’s possible. But it makes one wonder: Did he earn the pin? If so, how? Did he head off a battle royale on the notoriously clogged road straddling Jerusalem’s Old City and Sultan’s Pool? Did he avert a crisis on the LaGuardia ramp into Tel Aviv? Did he bring peace, love and understanding to the hot, messy hell that is the Checkpost road, connecting Haifa with its northern suburbs?
We asked Clarke for background on the pin. He has yet to reply.