During a fearmongering address for the Republican National Convention’s opening night on Monday, a white couple from St. Louis who face criminal charges for pointing guns at Black Lives Matter protesters falsely claimed that Democrats want to “abolish the suburbs.”
“At this moment in history, if you stand up for yourself and for the values our country was founded on, the mob ― spurred on by their allies in the media ― will try to destroy you,” Mark McCloskey said.
“You’ve seen us on your TV screens and Twitter feeds,” he went on. “You know we’re not the kind of people who back down. Thankfully, neither is Donald Trump. President Trump will defend the God-given right of every American to protect their homes and their families.”
The McCloskeys, both lawyers in their 60s, face felony charges of unlawful use of a weapon for waving their guns at several hundred protesters as they marched by the couple’s mansion in a gated community in St. Louis. Mark McCloskey brandished a semi-automatic rifle and his wife held a semi-automatic handgun. No shots were fired during the confrontation.
Democratic St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner described the protesters as “peaceful” and “unarmed.” But the McCloskeys have claimed the demonstrators ignored “No Trespassing” and “Private Street” signs before breaking through a gate to get into the community.
Trump believes the charges against the McCloskeys constitute an “egregious abuse of power,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a press briefing last month.
In their RNC address Monday night, the McCloskeys falsely accused “radical Democrats” of seeking to endanger and destroy suburban communities.
“They 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,” Patricia McCloskey said. “This forced rezoning would bring crime, lawlessness and low-quality apartments into thriving suburban neighbourhoods.”
“These are the policies that are coming to a neighbourhood near you,” she continued. “So make no mistake: No matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America.”
In fact, the platform of former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, calls for eliminating single-family-only zoning regulations in an effort to reduce housing barriers and desegregate the suburbs.
Trump has stoked fear and racial animosity among his supporters by claiming low-income housing would “invade their neighborhood” under a Biden presidency. Black, Native American and Hispanic households are more likely than white households to be extremely low-income renters, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
“The ‘suburban housewife’ will be voting for me,” Trump tweeted earlier this month. “They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood. Biden would reinstall it, in a bigger form, with [Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey] in charge!”