In an on-camera interview with conservative commentator Katie Pavlich, President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended the St. Louis lawyers who pointed guns at protesters outside their mansion. The president also accused the protesters of striking fear in the private, gated neighborhood they entered and said prosecutors locally should not charge Mark McCloskey and Patricia McCloskey.
Here’s what the president said:
“When you look at St. Louis with two people that came out — they were going to be beat up badly, if they were lucky — okay — 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. 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.”
Trump’s comments mirrored those made by the McCloskeys themselves on Sean Hannity’s Fox News Channel broadcast last week.
Hannity said the protesters “broke down the gate” to the private neighborhood where the McCloskeys lived and said that the McCloskeys and even their pets had been threatened.
Mark McCloskey told Hannity that “that’s true.”
“It was shocking . . . the gate came in, seemingly everybody in the world came forward, literally, I think the estimate is three to five hundred people came right towards us,” Mark McCloskey said. “We were preparing to have dinner on the porch, and we were literally maybe 70 feet from the gate . . . by the time we got our guns — by the time I got my gun — the crowd was maybe 30 to 40 feet from us . . . we thought it was the end.”
Hannity asked what the threats were.
Patricia McCloskey said, “They were going to kill us; they were going to come in there; they were going to burn down the house; they — they were going to be living in our house after I was dead; and they were going to — they pointed to different rooms and said ‘that’s gonna be my bedroom, and that’s gonna to be the living room, and I’m gonna be taking a shower in that room.’ And then the dog barked — I mean, there were so many threats — and then the dog barked, and they said ‘and I’m going to be killing her too, or it, too.'”
Mark McCloskey then said the group which planned the “riot” advertised it on Facebook as a march on the mayor’s house with a “special surprise,” “something extra,” which he took to mean him and his wife.
“They were coming back specifically for us, and to get us, and to burn the house,” Mark McCloskey said. He said the police “had been ordered to stand down” and that he tried to line up private security. “Entity after entity said they didn’t want to get involved.”
McCloskey said the police and security firms simply suggested “we should just walk away from the house and abandon it.”
Hannity then decried “defunding the police.”
(The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that “protester Derk Brown’s live feed shows he is one of the first protesters to pass through the iron gate held open by protester Tory Russell” and that “[a]lthough the McCloskeys have displayed photos of a crumpled gate as evidence the protesters broke it down, the feed shows the gate is intact. It was not clear when it was damaged.”)
In other Tuesday interviews, Trump pushed back at a question from CBS News about Black Americans being killed by police. Trump said “more white people” were killed by the police than Black people and said it was “terrible question to ask.” He also said those who waive the Confederate flag are expressing their right to “freedom of speech.” He said the same freedom was exercised by Black Lives Matter activists.
“Well, people love it,” Trump said with reference to the Confederate flag. “I don’t view — I know people that like the Confederate flag and they’re not thinking about slavery.” Trump, however, has said burning the American flag should be illegal. (It is protected free speech.)
[photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images]
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