Sheriff David Clarke, the right-wing pundit and frequent Fox News guest who formerly presided over a jail in which multiple inmates—including an unborn child—died, will be a keynote speaker at a fundraiser with Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT), who famously body-slammed a reporter the night before his election.
The Republican event, first reported by Montana’s Billings Gazette, is being hosted by the Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee Executive Board. “As a ‘General’ in President Trump’s external army, [Clarke] will also support candidates who commit to the Trump-Pence agenda of putting America First,” the event description reads.
The event, the county’s annual Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner is being billed with the tagline “Let’s Have a Ball & Build a Wall!”
Clarke is best known for making controversial remarks comparing the Black Lives Matter movement to both the Ku Klux Klan and the Islamic State, saying he would only reach across the political aisle to “grab one of them by the throat,” and using his law-enforcement staff to hassle a man who hurt his feelings on an airplane.
According to the event’s description page, special guests will also include 2018 Senate candidates and Gianforte, who won a Montana special election last year one day after being charged with misdemeanor assault for body-slamming a reporter.
The Guardian later reported that Gianforte had falsely told police that the reporter, Ben Jacobs, had initiated the physical contact in the altercation and that “liberal media… is trying to make a story.”
He was also previously considered for an assistant secretary position at the Department of Homeland Security in Trump’s administration, but ultimately withdrew his name. When Clarke resigned from his post as Milwaukee County Sheriff in September 2017, instead of joining the Trump administration, he went on to join the pro-Trump America First Action super PAC.