Despite major controversies and concerns over her comments about defunding police, the Senate has confirmed Kristen Clarke to lead the Civil Rights Division for the Department of Justice.
The vote fell squarely along party lines, except for Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who voted with the Democrats.
Clarke sparked controversy as a nominee for a previous op-ed she wrote called, “Defund the Police – but Be Strategic.” That article concerned many pro-law enforcement conservatives. Moreover, the Daily Caller also reported that emails show Clarke recommended an essay in college that compared police to the Ku Klux Klan.
At a Congressional hearing in April, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, questioned Clarke for her op-ed.
“You just said you don’t support cutting funds from police,” Sen. Cruz said. “I find that astonishing, and Ms. Clarke, frankly, not credible because I’m holding the article you wrote, and I actually pulled out a highlighter and highlighted the beginning of each paragraph going through, and about midway through, you have a paragraph that says, ‘We must invest less in police and more in social workers.’ The next paragraph is, ‘We must invest less in police and more in social support to our schools.’ The next paragraph begins, ‘We must invest less in police and more mental health aid.’ Three paragraphs in your article, you begin with the words, ‘We must invest less in police,’ and you just told this committee under oath you don’t support investing less in police. How do you square those?”
Clarke said she does not support defunding the police and that the headline was chosen by the editor.
“It’s not just the title,” Sen. Cruz responded. “It’s your text. ‘We must invest less in police.’ Three paragraphs you begin with those words. You wrote those words. Do you agree with those words today?”
Clarke held to her position, but many on the right aren’t buying it. Whether she brings those policies into her new position remains to be seen.
“Without the power of the purse string, I wrote those words, but President Biden is committing more resources to police,” she told Sen. Cruz. “And I think that’s a great thing, Senator.”