Trump surrogate David Clarke: Woodfin’s ‘welcoming city’ policy is a ‘violation of the United States Constitution’
Trump surrogate and former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke called in to Yellowhammer Radio’s The Ford Faction on Tuesday, telling host Ford Brown that Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin’s “welcoming city” policy is a “violation of the United States Constitution” and even suggesting the Alabama mayor should be criminally prosecuted and removed from office.
In an interview with NPR in August, Woodfin said that becoming a sanctuary city would not be going far enough and instead declared Birmingham a “welcoming city.” He confirmed the Magic City will not cooperate with ICE, adding “but making sure we do things beyond ICE is important.”
Clarke tore into the liberal Democrat for his “flaunting of the law.”
“Look, this is a violation of U.S. sovereignty, so therefore, it’s a violation of the United States Constitution of which I’m sure mayors take an oath,” Clarke said, after remarking that he was in “disbelief” at Woodfin’s actions.
Clarke added, “It’s not just a violation of U.S. sovereignty, but the Supremacy Clause that says the federal law, the Constitution, supersedes all [state] laws and nobody can nullify it.”
The career law enforcement officer said he has studied this issue nationally to see what can be done about municipal and state officials that ignore federal law.
“There are federal statutes, I’ve looked into this extensively, and one of them is 8 U.S.C. § 1324,” Clarke outlined. “This provides for criminal penalties for anybody to knowingly harbor people in this country illegally, and it’s spelled out in that [statute].”
It is Clarke’s background in law enforcement, specifically in a staunchly Democratic area, that informs his worldview.
“The law has to be upheld. I’m a rule of law guy,” Clarke emphasized. “The laws apply to everybody.”
“For someone to come out and just blatantly, publicly say ‘I’m going to violate the law’ and have nothing happen is very disheartening to those of us who go through our daily lives and do what we’re supposed to do – we obey the law because it’s the right thing to do. But to see these individuals flaunt the law like that and have nothing happen … this has got to stop,” Clarke said.
Clarke wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who he respects and called a “friend,” to have the Justice Department take aggressive action because going through the court system is taking too long due to all of the levels of appeals and obstruction involved.
“I believe that the attorney general and the Department of Justice is going to have to convene a grand jury and try and indict one of these sanctuary mayors … get an indictment and I’ll tell you right now – that’ll send a different message,” Clarke advised.
He explained, “These guys that are out there dancing on the law like this, they didn’t get into this to go to federal prison. By the way, that [statute], upon conviction you can serve up to ten years in federal prison. None of these guys got into this for that and when they see that that actually, that law has some teeth in it, that the Justice Department is going to uphold the law, I’ll tell you – they’ll stop that behavior tomorrow.”
Clarke also called on the citizens of Birmingham to use the legal avenues available to them in response to Woodfin’s actions.
“I don’t know what the recall laws are in the state of Alabama, but maybe somebody down there should start taking a look at it,” Clarke said. “This guy violated his oath, he’s eligible to be recalled.”
To be clear, Alabama law does allow for recalls on the municipal level but only for cities that use a commission form of government, which Birmingham does not. The legal remedy to remove Woodfin from office would instead be impeachment.
State law lists “willful neglect of duty; corruption in office; incompetency; intemperance in the use of intoxicating liquors or narcotics to such an extent in view of the dignity of the office and importance of its duties as unfits the officer for the discharge of such duties; or any offense involving moral turpitude while in office or committed under color thereof or connected therewith” as acceptable causes for impeachment.
Clarke later reiterated that “the rule of law must prevail” and added that Woodfin’s stance “relegates every citizen of Alabama as a second-class citizen.”
“The first time an official is charged, it’ll get everybody’s attention nationwide. And all these people who think this is cute … then they’ll change their behavior,” Clarke opined.
You can listen to the Ford Faction on Yellowhammer Radio every day from noon to 3:00 p.m. on WYDE 101.1 FM.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn