Politics

Trump Defends Couple Who Pointed Guns At Protesters, Is “Getting Involved," Gov Says

As his reelection campaign ramps up, the president has doubled down on stoking racial tensions.

A man and woman draw their firearms on protestors as they enter their neighborhood during a protest against St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. June 28. | Reuters
A man and woman draw their firearms on protestors as they enter their neighborhood during a protest against St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. June 28. | Reuters

President Trump is “getting involved” in the case of the St. Louis couple who were captured on video pointing guns at protesters outside their mansion last month, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) said Tuesday. 

Parson, who noted he’s an ardent Second Amendment defender, said during a coronavirus press briefing that he had just spoken with Trump on the phone and that Attorney General Bill Barr “was represented on the call.” The confrontation involving the couple, Mark and Patricia McCloskey, is under investigation by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner (D), and police executed a search warrant of their home over the weekend, the Associated Press reported.

On Tuesday, Trump, also gave an interview with Townhall defending the McCloskeys, who are both lawyers. They have given interviews since the protest with local outlets and networks including Fox News and CNN, saying they felt their lives and property were at risk.

“They were going to be beat up badly if they were lucky. If they were lucky. They were going to be beat up badly, and the house was going to be totally ransacked and probably burned down like they tried to burn down churches,” Trump said. “And these people were standing there, never used it and they were legal, the weapons, and now I understand somebody local, they want to prosecute these people. It's a disgrace.”

During his press conference, Parson suggested that he would attempt removing Gardner from office, adding that Trump “understands the situation in Missouri.”

“He understands the situation in Missouri. He understands the situation in St. Louis and how out of control it is for a prosecutor to let violent criminals off and not do their job and try to attack law-abiding citizens.” 

On Tuesday night, Gardner posted a statement on Twitter alleging that Parson and Trump “came after [her] for doing [her] job and investigating a case.”

“It is unbelievable the Governor of the state of Missouri would seek advice from one of the most divisive leaders in our generation to overpower the discretion of a locally elected prosecutor,” Gardner said in a statement. 

In the widely shared video of the Missouri couple, Patricia can be seen holding a pistol, and Mark is holding a rifle. In some parts of the footage, Patricia is pointing the pistol directly at protesters, and both of them are shouting at the crowd. A St. Louis Dispatch investigation published over the weekend found the McCloskeys have a lengthy history of filing litigation, often over property matters.

Also on Tuesday, Trump said in an interview with CBS that cops also kill “white people” when asked why Black Americans are “still dying at the hands of law enforcement in this country.” In another comment, Trump said, “More white people, by the way. More white people.”

A Washington Post database has found that police in the U.S. killed more white people than Black people between 2015 and 2020, though Black Americans are killed by police at more than two times the rate that white Americans are. Numerous studies cited by CBS have also found that Black Americans are significantly more likely to be killed by police, especially when factoring in the size of each racial group in the U.S.

As November draws closer, the president has doubled down on stoking conflict over race as protests against police brutality and systemic racism sweep the nation. He called a Black Lives Matter mural painted last week outside Trump Tower in New York City “a symbol of hate,” and his re-election campaign is selling a “Defend The Police” T-shirt.