In the midst of a natural disaster, Donald Trump took to Twitter to promote a book by David Clarke, the Trump-supporting Milwaukee sheriff with a violent past, as well as to plug a campaign rally and spew lies about the border wall.
As Texas is slammed by a major natural disaster, Donald Trump has not seemed to fully grasp the gravity of the situation.
Trump fled D.C. for Camp David as Hurricane Harvey approached landfall. When asked by reporters if he had any words for the people of Texas, Trump only said, “Good luck to everybody,” and flashed the thumbs-up.
Two days later, Texas’s largest city, Houston, is underwater. Five people have died, infrastructure has completely shut down, and over 1,000 people had to be rescued.
What is Trump’s response? Hawking a book by Sheriff David Clarke.
A great book by a great guy, highly recommended! https://t.co/3jbDDN8YmJ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2017
Clarke was quite pleased with Trump’s praise, offering an ignorant defense of Trump’s neglect toward the people of Texas by attempting to slam President Barack Obama:
— David A. Clarke, Jr. (@SheriffClarke) August 27, 2017
Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, is a violent, right-wing provocateur with a history of hateful rhetoric. He has called Black civil rights protestors “primitive” and “subhuman” and has referred to Black Lives Matter as “the enemy,” “a terrorist movement,” “a revolutionary Marxist force,” and “Black LIES Matter.”
In 2016, Clarke proclaimed that it would be “pitchforks and torches time” if Trump did not win.
The book Trump is promoting, “Cop Under Fire,” is full of hateful lines like this, and even Wisconsin’s GOP governor, Scott Walker, has said parts of the book describing the governor’s praise for the sheriff are “complete fiction.”
Moreover, much like Joe Arpaio, the racist Arizona ex-sheriff whom Trump just defied federal protocol in order to issue a pardon to for contempt of court, Clarke has a documented history of human rights abuses in his prisons.
Clarke made headlines in 2016 after Terril Thomas, a mentally ill man, died of dehydration in a Milwaukee County jail cell. Clarke’s guards had reportedly ignored Thomas’s screams of agony for days. The death was ruled a homicide.
Additionally, multiple lawsuits detailed how Clarke forced a pregnant inmate to give birth on the concrete floor of her cell while in shackles. The baby did not survive.
Yet Clarke remains one of Trump’s favorite people in law enforcement. He even previously considered Clarke for a top position at the Department of Homeland Security, despite the fact that Clarke has unsettling ties to Russian government officials.
When not hawking Clarke’s lie-ridden book, Trump also took time to brag about winning Missouri in the presidential election, and to offer his prediction that Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill will lose reelection in 2018.
Trump also reiterated his lie that Mexico will pay for his border wall, and took some time to bash NAFTA, as well, calling it the “worst trade deal ever made” and suggesting that he “may have to terminate” the deal.
None of which is of any use or comfort to Houston residents who are fleeing crashing waves of water.
This entire affair is cheap politics to Trump and his friends. Human lives are at stake, and all they care about is bragging about themselves and scoring points.
Texas, and all of America, deserves leadership. But all they get from the White House is gamesmanship.