(Reuters) – A white St. Louis couple who brandished guns at Black Lives Matter protesters outside their home in June were given a prominent speaking slot at the Republican National Convention on Monday, repeating unfounded claims by President Donald Trump that Democrats will destroy America’s suburbs.
Speaking amid new protests over the police shooting of a Black man in Wisconsin on Sunday, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who face felony weapons charges for threatening protesters with guns, said U.S. neighborhoods would be overrun by crime and lawlessness if Democrat Joe Biden wins in November.
“No matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America,” Patricia McCloskey said.
That message follows repeated allegations by Trump, as part of his “law-and-order” campaign, that vengeful “mobs” are tearing down Democratic-run cities. In one recent tweet, Trump – keen to win back the votes of white, college-educated women – declared that “suburban housewives” wanted safety and that a Democrat in the White House would bring chaos to neighborhoods.
Biden has decried violent protests and has resisted activist calls to “defund the police.” Instead, he says his focus is on ending systematic racism inside law enforcement agencies.
The McCloskeys, both lawyers, shouted at protesters and pointed weapons including a semi-automatic rifle at the demonstrators, who appeared unarmed as they marched by their home.
On Monday, they criticized authorities for charging them but no one among what they called an “out-of-control mob.” They have said they were within their rights to defend their property.
Trump previously called the charges against them a “disgrace.”
“President Trump will defend the God-given right of every American to protect their homes and families,” Mark McCloskey said in his convention remarks.
(Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney)