One of President-elect Donald Trump’s top candidates to run the Department of Homeland Security made eyebrow-raising comments about transgender individuals on his radio show earlier this year.
David Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, is reportedly a contender to lead the DHS and met with Trump in New York on Monday. Throughout Trump’s presidential campaign, he has been one of Trump’s more controversial allies.
On the June 25th episode of his podcast, “The People’s Sheriff,” Clarke claimed that transgender Americans have mental disorders and painted them as one of several groups who live a “freakish lifestyle.”
The sheriff cited Walt Heyer, a former transgender author who has called for parents of transgender Americans to be jailed.
“Folks, more evidence that transgender persons suffer from mental disorders more than physiological disorders,” Clarke said, introducing a segment on his show dedicated to Heyer’s columns.
“Too often in this assault on the First Amendment, and this very totalitarian attitude from the left that any freakish lifestyle, any marginal lifestyle, is now considered part of the norm, and they’re shoving it down our throats. So if you’re not careful when you engage in this conversation, they’ll look for the trap, and they’ll catch you saying something that’s clumsy or not well articulated, and then they’ll just attack you – they’ll attack you with it. ‘Transgender phobic’ and all this other nonsense.”
Clarke continued, reading Heyer’s June article in the Daily Signal, which claimed that transgender individuals were more inclined to have “psychiatric diagnoses,” that transgender identities corresponded with childhood trauma “100% of the time,” and that such individuals “need psychotherapy, not access to cross-sex restrooms.”
Though the World Health Organization considered being transgender a mental illness in its 1990 International Classification of Diseases, the organization is weighing eliminating this classification when it updates its guide in 2018. Other top medical groups have updated their categorizations to reflect recent studies that argue that it is not a mental disorder.
In his June broadcast, the sheriff concluded that left-leaning politicians’ support for transgender individuals was a crude political calculation aimed at earning support from such voters.
“We will probably not get to the proper course of treatment for these individuals because the left, as you know, is on a political crusade with this, looking to push any lifestyle as mainstream in an effort to gain political power, because they seek their vote,” Clarke said.
He added: “We need to push back on this, not because you or I don’t like transgender individuals. Because I want to make sure they’re getting the proper treatment before embarking on this irreversible medical procedure, that’s all.
Clarke’s comments in June were far from the only time he’s used his radio to float aggressive, eyebrow-raising proposals.
As Mother Jones has reported, during an episode last December, Clarke called for anyone “spewing jihadi rhetoric” to be immediately arrested and detained indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay.