As a conservative first, who happens to be black, I’m used to fierce debate with the left because I don’t fit in their political box. However, a recent editorial in The Billings Gazette on my upcoming speech to the Yellowstone County GOP is not simply a criticism of my politics, it’s a direct personal attack against me and illustrates a greater hypocrisy.

This political hit piece is typical of the liberal media’s hateful campaign against anyone that doesn’t pass their progressive litmus test. You can tell that these editors read the Democratic talking points. As an African-American conservative, I hear these same talking points everywhere I go.

The nameless, faceless cabal at The Gazette didn’t take aim at the merits of my political positions. Instead, they resorted to personalized attacks through name calling, cherry picking incidents, misrepresenting facts and even threatening me.


And since these journalists failed to properly research, they may not know just how seriously we take threatening the use of a gun against law enforcement. The war on cops has been fueled by left-leaning editorial boards and has inspired their followers to assault and kill police in attacks in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and New York City.

It’s clear that either the editorial board has a political agenda or they simply don’t know what they’re talking about. After all, they don’t even understand the legal definition of deadly force. Hypothetically, if a member of the editorial board kills me for simply punching one of them – absent from great bodily harm likely to cause death – it wouldn’t justify their use of deadly force against me. The unlawful use of a firearm to settle disputes is actually one of the main reasons for violence in urban areas and the leading cause of death for black males under the age of 25 – another fact regarding crime that this editorial board clearly doesn’t understand.

But one of the reasons this board doesn’t understand urban crime and especially black conservatives is probably because they suppress black conservative opinions. The reason I embrace self-defense emanates from my slave ancestors’ belief in the right to defend themselves against mob attacks and lynching. My ancestors couldn’t own guns; they had to use their fists.

In part because of my ancestors’ struggle as slaves, I take incidents of crime and justice seriously. The editorial board falsely insinuated that I enabled an inmate’s death. I ran a jail of 1,000 inmates with a staff of more than 300. Whenever I was informed of an inmate’s death, I ordered an investigation and referred the findings to the district attorney. In this case, I called in an outside agency for impartiality. If someone violated policies on handling inmates, they were held accountable.

This hit piece – full of ad hominem attacks – illustrates the paper’s glaring hypocrisy.

When Democrats have used risqué language, The Billings Gazette was silent. I doubt that the paper ever called out former President Barack Obama when he encouraged rally attendees to prepare for a political fight by saying “if they pull a knife, we pull a gun.”

Similarly, The Gazette was silent on Obama for causing the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in a botched and politicized gun-running mission to Mexico. The editors didn’t even bat an eye when Obama caused the death of Ambassador Stevens and other Americans when they were attacked by terrorists in Benghazi because Obama failed to act. Obama participated in cover-up scandals.

In their diatribe, The Gazette called me a thug. That’s an interesting term for a virtue signaling editorial board to use against an educated African-American and former sheriff. When someone on the right uses that term in reference to black criminals, the left claims it’s a racist term. The media has done that to President Trump when he rightfully calls out the violent gang MS-13.

The Gazette enjoys First Amendment protection, but doesn’t believe in the freedom of assembly for the Yellowstone County GOP. Otherwise, the editors wouldn’t bully and harass the Yellowstone County GOP in hopes that they will rescind my invitation.

But the real reasons for this politically motivated editorial are worthy of a legitimate discussion.

The editorial board at the Billings Gazette is not outraged that the Yellowstone County GOP invited a conservative to speak, but rather a black conservative. The left hates conservatives but they abhor black conservatives like me because we can effectively neutralize their false racism smears against conservatives. It’s hard for leftists to swallow the debate when they’re up against a black conservative. According to them, I am supposed to embrace liberal dogma and condemn Republicans as racists. They see me not as an individual and free thinker, but an oddity whose opinions must be silenced.


The left-leaning media continually virtue signal about diversity – except when it comes to black conservatives. I challenge the editorial board to tell us about their diversity efforts and tell me how many people of color sit on their board. From the looks of it, they could use a lesson in diversity themselves. Maybe they should address how many people of color exist in the Montana Democrat Party, or how many Democratic people of color hold state office.

Note to the Billings Gazette editorial board: Take the hood off – I know who you are.

Nonetheless, I look forward to my visit to the Treasure State as a guest of the Yellowstone County GOP. I have been to Montana. Its people have been gracious and accommodating.

If the Billings Gazette has an ounce of courage, they will allow me the unedited space to respond to their smears by running this response. If they want to actually debate my policy positions instead of pushing their agenda about identity politics, I’m ready for that fight, too. Please don’t shoot me when I win the debate. It wouldn’t be the first time, that as a black man, I had to prove my worth to liberals.

David Clarke is scheduled to speak at the annual Yellowstone County Republicans' Lincoln Reagan dinner on March 9 in Billings.