Mark McCloskey became a conservative folk hero after confronting protesters in front of his mansion last summer with an AR-15.
ST. LOUIS (CN) — An attorney who waved an AR-15 rifle at civil rights protesters in front of his St. Louis home last year has announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate, telling Fox News on Tuesday night that “God came knocking on my door last summer disguised as an angry mob and it really did wake me up.”
Mark McCloskey joins an increasingly crowded Republican field vying to replace Republican U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, who announced he won’t seek reelection in 2022. Disgraced former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens and Attorney General Eric Schmitt have already announced their candidacies. Greitens stepped down as governor in June 2018 amid an affair scandal and criminal computer-tampering charges.
McCloskey, and his wife Patricia gained national notoriety last summer after waving guns at protesters in front of their St. Louis mansion. Mark, 63, and Patricia, 61, were each indicted for unlawful use of a weapon, a felony, and tampering with a weapon, a misdemeanor.
The McCloskeys claim the charges were politically motivated and successfully had St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner dismissed from the case, though it is still pending with a special prosecutor. Missouri Governor Mike Parson, a Republican, has vowed to pardon the couple if they are convicted.
The incident made the couple folk heroes in conservative, pro-gun circles. They became outspoken supporters of former President Donald Trump and spoke at the Republican National Convention last summer.
In a brief video titled “Never Back Down” posted to his website, McCloskey uses Trump’s tough-talk rhetoric to appeal to the former president’s base. The video is set on a farm with McCloskey on a tractor, a stark contrast from his mansion in a private gated community in St. Louis.
“When the angry mob came to destroy my house and kill my family, I took a stand against them,” McCloskey said to begin the video, echoing claims he and his wife repeated to justify their actions last summer.
The Black Lives Matter protesters were on their way to then-Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house to demand her resignation when they were confronted by the McCloskeys.
The video shows still pictures of the McCloskeys during the confrontation with weapons drawn.
“Our nation is under attack,” McCloskey said. “Big tech, big business, the swamp in D.C., are all working together to destroy our God-given freedom, our culture and our heritage.”
McCloskey continues by saying the country needs defenders, but all politicians do is divide. He claims they teach us to hate each other over political, racial and economic differences.
The attorney then echoed Trump’s stance as a political outsider, stating he’s never run for office before. He quickly followed that by playing to the fears many in rural Missouri’s predominantly conservative voting base have.
“The mob is coming for all of us,” McCloskey said. “Cancel culture, the poison of critical race theory, the lie of systemic racism backed up by the threat of mob violence, attacks on the Second Amendment, erosion of election integrity are all intentionally designed to destroy all we hold near and dear.”
Blunt, 71, surprised the political world with his announcement earlier this month that he won’t run for another term next year. Before being elected senator in 2014 and again in 2018, Blunt served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.