My colleague Shakezula has already discussed this, but David Clarke’s appointment assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security is a big enough deal to be worth more discussion. It is almost impossible to overstate how unfit he is for any law enforcement position, let alone one of the top federal ones:
However, if the premature reports are true, Clarke’s promotion to federal office would be a major affront to human and civil rights. In 2013, Clarke received the “Sheriff of the Year Award” from Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an anti-government organization whose founder, former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack, believes,“The greatest threat we face today is not terrorists. It is our own federal government.” In 2015, he suggested suspending habeus corpus to charge individuals “on the internet spewing jihadi rhetoric,” and them “with treason,” and “indefinitely” detain them at Guantanamo Bay—a number that he estimates could be one million people. Since last April, four detainees in his jail have died, including a newborn baby and a mentally ill inmate who was deprived of water for seven days. He has faced two federal lawsuits since December for the deaths. Earlier this month, a grand jury recommended criminal charges against seven staff members at Clarke’s Milwaukee jail.
There are evidently a number of different metrics one could used to assess the authoritarian tendencies of the Trump administration. Myself, I would consider “the number of authoritarians nominated to high-level federal positions” as one of the more important.