A St. Louis couple touted their relationship with President Trump on Wednesday after pleading not guilty to charges related to a confrontation in which they pointed guns at protesters marching their neighborhood.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey are charged with unlawful use of a weapon and tampering with evidence stemming from a June 28 face-off in which they were seen confronting Black Lives Matter protesters marching on the private street in front of their home.
Mark McCloskey wielded an AR-15 rifle while Patricia McCloskey held a semiautomatic pistol. The tense confrontation occurred during nationwide demonstrations against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The incident was recorded and quickly went viral.
In the aftermath, the McCloskeys were embraced by conservatives and denounced by others. Their attorney, Joel Schwartz, told Fox News that the couple have spoken with President Trump about their case.
“They have spoken with him, but I can’t go any further,” he said.
But Mark McCloskey told Fox News on Wednesday that Trump called him and his wife hours before he accepted the GOP presidential nomination.
“We certainly appreciated the phone call from him,” he said. “We’ve been Trump surrogates now … We spent four days riding on the team Trump bus in Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago and been doing everything we can to support the president and help him get re-elected.”
Trump has taken an active interest in the case and defended the McCloskeys during a July town hall event.
“They were going to be beat up badly, if they were lucky,” Trump said. “And these people were standing there, never used it [weapons] and they were legal, the weapons. And now I understand somebody local, they want to prosecute these people. It’s a disgrace.”
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner charged the couple — both personal injury attorneys in their 60s — in July. She said the display of weapons heightened the risk for potential violence. The McCloskeys maintain they were merely defending themselves. No shots were fired and no one was harmed.
The notoriety they gained from the highly publicized incident led to the couple making a speech on the opening night of the Republican National Convention where they warned of a nation run by “radical Democrats.”
Nine protesters involved in the confrontation were cited last month for trespassing but prosecutors later dropped the charges.
The McCloskeys are due back in court Oct. 28. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said last week he will pardon the couple if they are convicted.