A wave of county sheriffs across America who feel emboldened by President Trump and his agenda are becoming vocal foot soldiers in the nation’s testy political and culture wars, says the Washington Post. From deep-blue states such as Massachusetts and New York to traditionally conservative strongholds in the South and the Midwest, locally elected sheriffs have emerged as some of the president’s biggest defenders. They echo Trump’s narrative on everything from serious policy debates such as immigration to fleeting political dust-ups with NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.
Sheriffs are mimicking Trump’s antagonistic political style, alarming progressives and some legal observers who fear an increasingly undisciplined justice system. Some have gone to battle with Democratic officials, bucking their “politically correct” policies and using rhetoric that puts some residents on edge. Over the past nine months, various elected sheriffs have been filmed saying that they would call Immigration and Customs Enforcement on undocumented residents, have threatened to bar sex offenders from hurricane shelters, and have proposed sending inmates to help build Trump’s planned Mexican border wall. Last month, a sheriff in Louisiana suggested “good” inmates need to be kept in jail so they can cook, clean and wash vehicles. In Titusville, Fla., Sheriff Wayne Ivey is calling on constituents to arm themselves as a countywide militia. He and many other sheriffs are producing controversial, at times jarring, videos designed to show toughness, including images of deputies beating in doors.