For years, Sheriff David A. Clarke was a fixture on Fox News, raging against Black Lives Matter, reportedly neglecting his duties as sheriff, and owning libs at every corner.
Nowadays, the firebrand Trump ally and ex-Milwaukee sheriff isn’t welcome on Fox anymore, The Daily Beast has learned.
The one-time Fox News regular, who was previously considered for different senior posts in the Trump administration, was effectively “banned” last year by the network, according to two sources familiar with the situation.
The decision was more sweeping than the “soft bans” that Fox has imposed on other guests or contributors, such as former White House official Sebastian Gorka, who was barred from Fox’s “hard news” programming but regularly appeared on opinion shows like Hannity.
In a lengthy note to The Daily Beast from Clarke’s email address, an unnamed “assistant” to the sheriff wrote that after years of appearing as a “guest host” on Fox, he spoke to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott in late 2017 about becoming a paid contributor, “no longer wanting to work for free for them while they made money on ratings off of him.”
According to Clarke’s “assistant,” the sheriff then never heard again from Scott or any Fox News producers. Because of this, the sheriff senses a left-wing conspiracy at play. “It may have had something to do with the very liberal Rupert Murdoch boy taking over after Roger Ailes and Bill Shine, who was in charge of programming, were let go. Ailes and Bill Shine liked the sheriff,” Clarke’s rep wrote.
“His rhetoric became crazier and crazier and most shows refused to use him,” one Fox source familiar with the situation told The Daily Beast.
Fox News isn’t the only organization to apparently part ways with the demagogic lawman.
Two knowledgeable sources confirmed that Clarke is also no longer a senior adviser and spokesman for pro-Trump super PAC America First Action, where he landed in late 2017 after he resigned as sheriff and was repeatedly blocked from getting a position in the Trump administration. (For instance, Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon wanted to hire Clarke as a White House official, primarily to make TV appearances and take on members of the media.)
Clarke’s purpose for employment with America First was to act as a face of the organization, so his banishment from Fox complicated his role at the super PAC, barring him from one of the most influential arenas of right-wing, Trump-boosting media.
In the email rant, the sheriff’s “assistant” confirmed that Clarke “moved from America First super PAC to take a position on the board of We Build the Wall a 501(c)4 working with military veteran Brian Kolfage, Steve Bannon, and a host of other patriots on helping to seal the southern border with private donations.”
Furthermore, a keen observer of the conservative media giant would have long ago noticed a significant change in Clarke’s relationship with Fox News. The ex-sheriff hasn’t graced its airwaves in more than a year.
According to a search of multiple monitoring services—including TVEyes and the TV News Archive—and Fox News transcripts, the 10-gallon-hat-donning firebrand hasn’t been on the channel since appearing on Hannity on Feb. 14, 2018, the night of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
His last appearance across all Fox platforms came two days later, when he appeared on the Fox Business Network’s Risk & Reward, commenting yet again on the school shooting.
“I have two missions right now 1) the re-election of President Donald Trump and 1a) the total destruction of the progressive movement, a parasite that is destroying America,” the sheriff said in an official statement provided by his unnamed assistant. “I believe that is why I have Daily Beast’s attention. They are not fans of mine. If Daily Beast is contacting me, it’s because I am still relevant. I know how this works!”
Since his final Fox News appearance, his few mentions of the network have largely been critical.
In June 2018, he railed against Fox News for, as The Daily Beast first reported, briefly suspending former senior Trump aide David Bossie for saying on-air that a black guest was out of his “cotton-picking” mind. “Tired of seeing our guys thrown under the bus for virtue signaling purposes,” Clarke blared to his Twitter audience. “Let FOX News know.” Apparently, he was unable to do so himself.
Several months later, he lashed out at Fox News for having “crawled into bed with CNN” by backing the rival network’s lawsuit against the Trump administration for stripping CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s White House access. He then declared that insurgent right-wing cable network One America News—which sided with Trump—has “some balls,” by comparison.
In November and December, he repeatedly went after Fox & Friends, calling it “part of the problem” for not sticking up for Kid Rock after the rap-rock star called The View host Joy Behar a “bitch” on live TV.
It’s not totally clear what comments prompted Fox News to not welcome Clarke back on its air in more than a year.
Another Fox source suggested that it probably didn’t help that the loud-mouthed sheriff repeatedly bashed high-school-aged Parkland shooting victims—at one point accusing them of being funded by George Soros to “spew anti-gun talking points”—at the same time Fox News was attempting to tread lightly after its primetime star Laura Ingraham faced a massive ad boycott for mocking the students.
Strangely enough, in November, NBC’s Saturday Night Live did a cold-open sketch satirizing Trump allies and Fox’s fearmongering over a migrant caravan. In the sketch, cast member Kenan Thompson played Clarke, as an on-air guest on a parody version of Ingraham’s Fox News show. SNL didn’t appear to get the memo that Clarke had long been off the network.
The former sheriff has also had some problems with his social-media activity. Clarke was temporarily suspended by Twitter in late 2017 after posting a tweet directing people to “punch” the “lying lib media” and “taste their own blood.” The post included a meme of Clarke kicking a person with a CNN logo imposed over their face.
The ex-sheriff’s other major controversies are far darker.
While Clarke sought a White House position in 2017, he was sued by the family of an inmate who died of dehydration in his jail cell after being deprived of water for a week. The sheriff allegedly approved denying water to the man. He was also slapped with a lawsuit from a woman whose unborn child died while she was in his custody.
And in June 2017, a jury awarded $6.7 million to a woman who alleged being raped multiple times by a guard in Sheriff Clarke’s Milwaukee County jail.
That same year, Clarke was investigated by the FBI for allegedly abusing his authority when he ordered a subordinate to intimidate a fellow airline passenger who personally insulted the sheriff.
None of this, of course, has stopped President Trump from repeatedly praising Clarke, including an August 2017 tweet in which the president called him a “great guy” and urged followers to purchase his “great book.”
Fox News did not provide comment to The Daily Beast for this story.
—With additional reporting by Andrew Kirell and Lachlan Cartwright. This article has been updated throughout with comment from Sheriff Clarke.