Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. — the controversial, Stetson-wearing official who rose to national prominence with his no-holds-barred conservative rhetoric — resigned his office Thursday, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Clarke, who is in his fourth term, submitted a resignation letter to the county clerk. He said in a statement, “After almost 40 years serving the great people of Milwaukee County, I have chosen to retire to pursue other opportunities.” An adviser said Clarke would make an announcement about his future next week. Politico reported Thursday that Clarke is expected to take a job in the Trump administration. But sources close to the sheriff disputed that, saying Clarke is looking at opportunities outside of government that support the Trump agenda and keep Clarke in the public eye.
Earlier this year, he was passed over for a job in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Clarke, a frequent surrogate for Trump during his campaign for the presidency, also interviewed last year for a job in Trump’s cabinet. Gov. Scott Walker will appoint Clarke’s successor. For now, Inspector Richard Schmidt will serve as acting sheriff. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, who has had a fractured relationship with Clarke, said he was given no notice of his resignation. Abele said this will give the county the opportunity to find a sheriff who is “more interested in integrating with the rest of the community and maybe more focused on solutions and allies than enemies and fights.”