Livingston County Republicans hosted a nationally recognized controversial right wing speaker at their annual fall fundraiser last night.

David Clarke has spent nearly 40 years in law enforcement including being elected to four terms for sheriff of Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, before resigning last month. He was the key speaker for area Republicans at the 2017 Reagan Day Dinner held at Crystal Gardens Banquet Hall in Genoa Township. Leaders of the GOP from Livingston County and across the state were present, including State Representatives Hank Vaupel of Handy Township and Lana Theis of Brighton, along with Speaker of the House Tom Leonard.

A strong supporter of President Donald Trump, Clarke opened by telling those in attendance that he believes that the president was made for this moment in time, as were others like George Washington and John F. Kennedy before him. The former sheriff split most of his time speaking between upholding constitutional law and protecting those in law enforcement. He called former President Barack Obama’s presidency damaging to America and warned against the executive and judiciary branches circumventing the Constitution. He said the power to make laws lies with Congress, not the president, and defended Trump’s decision to repeal DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

Clarke also shared his opinion that "mainstream left-wing media" has led to the rise of distrust with police. He claimed that "irresponsible" reporting of events like Ferguson, Missouri has inspired “cop killers.” He said that the left “maligns the integrity of officers and creates sanctuaries of debaucheries” by tying their hands and called groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter domestic terror groups that make demands and call for the attacking of officers. The former sheriff called for it being a time to stand up and be counted in defense of law enforcement, for the nation's survival may be dependent on it. Vaupel told WHMI he liked what he heard. "I certainly agree with him. We need to respect our officers. We need the law and order and I do believe that they've gotten a really bad rap. Lately there have been instances that have happened. I think they've been blown in one direction by the media, but then we that haven't stood up and defended our law and order people, our police, we're to blame also."

Clarke is not without his detractors in Livingston County. A group of about a dozen protesters gathered outside the event peacefully protesting Clarke’s appearance. While sheriff, there were allegations of abuse of inmates and rape in Milwaukee County Jail. A group from Indivisible Livingston was there to let people know that his extreme stances on law enforcement, racial justice, and immigration are not welcome here and do not mirror those of the community. Livingston County Republican Party Chair Dan Wholihan said that there have been no charges against Clarke and that he doesn’t believe there to be any truth to the allegations. (MK)