SCREENSHOT VIA RNC
A good marriage is when both partners can joke about how they pointed guns at all those protesters.
The first thing the McCloskeys wanted you to know is that they find this all hilarious. On Monday night, as they introduced themselves on the livestream of the Republican National Convention, the infamous St. Louis couple greeted the virtual audience with a conviviality you rarely see in people facing felony gun charges.
"America is such a great country," Patricia McCloskey told the camera. "Not only do you have the right to own a gun and use it to defend yourself, but thousands of Americans will offer you free advice on how to use it."
"At least," she added with a smile, "that's what we experienced."
At that point, Patricia looked at Mark, and they shared a moment the way couples do when they're remembering the time they pointed guns at people.
Patricia and her husband Mark had taken part in the same incident on June 28. Patricia casually held a pistol with the barrel pointed at the demonstrators
, showing about as much regard to the people in front of her as a yellow stain on her shirt.
That day, Mark McCloskey, too, was far less cheerful and much more armed with a rifle as he shouted "Get the hell out of my neighborhood!" to the protesters — even though they were passing the couple's massive mansion on their way to the home of Mayor Lyda Krewson.
But during Monday's opening of the Republican convention, the "St. Louis gun couple" addressed the nation with a version of the June 28 confrontation
that failed to match the photos, videos, and statements from neighbors; instead, it echoed the initial account that Mark McCloskey gave in media interviews, in which he painted a picture of an "absolute horde"
that had smashed down a gate to Portland Place and threatened the lives of the couple and their dog.
Others living in "quiet neighborhoods" could expect the same if President Donald Trump doesn't get reelected, they warned.
"What you saw happen to us," Patricia McCoskey continued, "could just as easily happen to any of you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country. And that's what we want to speak to you about tonight."
See, the McCloskeys, who are both personal injury attorneys who spent years renovating their mansion to a stupifying degree of ostentation
, are just like you. They live in a "quiet neighborhood," even though their own neighbors denounced them
and say their story of the "horde" is full of shit. And the McCloskeys worry about Democrats "abolishing the suburbs" even though they live smack-dab in the middle of a city.
But anything can be reality at the Republican convention — especially when that reality is a racist appeal
to a group Trump refers to as "all of the people living their suburban lifestyle dream."
Trump's message is a political strategy based on intolerance and a deeply misinformed version
of an Obama-era anti-segregation housing measure that never mandated the construction of low-income homes
in suburban areas.
And yet, back at the Suburban Lifestyle Dream, the McCloskeys framed their speech as a defense of suburbia, and more: They snuck in jabs at soon-to-be congresswoman Cori Bush — calling her "Marxist, liberal activist, leading the mob to our neighborhood" — and asserted that the radicals like Bush "are not satisfied with spreading the chaos and violence into our communities, they want to abolish the suburbs altogether, by ending single-family home zoning."
It's difficult to know where to begin with the McCloskeys. The protesters walking through Portland Place weren't demanding
the end to single-family home zoning. Cori Bush isn't a Marxist. Holding firearms in ways that demonstrate your incompetence isn't actually that charming. Protesters didn't smash a gate
to get into Portland Place. Talking about your conduct in a pending criminal case is, legally speaking, inadvisable.
And still, they persisted. As Mark McCloskey wrapped up the speech, he described Trump's vision for America: "A community where your family can play in the back yard without fear, worship in a church without shame, and express your beliefs without retribution."
It's the sort of community his own neighbors might like to live in, someday. Indeed, just hours before the McCloskeys' speech, one of those neighbors, Rabbi Susan Talve told the Jewish news site The Forward
about the time in 2013 that Mark McCloskey destroyed beehives placed by the Jewish Central Reform Congregation
, which sits north of the couples' mansion.
The beehives were intended to produce honey for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. After breaking the hives, Mark McCloskey left a note
threatening to sue for damages and attorneys' fees if the remains were not removed.
The fence between the properties sits an entire six inches within the McCloskey’s property line, Talve said told the site. She added that news of the hives' destruction left children at the synagogue in tears.
"They are bullies," Talve said of the McCloskeys in the interview. "The fact that they’re speaking at the convention is a win for bullies."
For now, the McCloskeys and Trump aren't tired of winning. Not yet. After all, they have suburbs to save.
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com
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