Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the white couple who brandished guns at racial justice protesters on June 28 in the Central West End, took aim at newly elected U.S. Rep. Cori Bush during their videotaped speech for the Republican National Convention on Monday night.
The McCloskeys called Bush, who was participating in the protest, a “Marxist liberal activist” – a label that prompted Bush to respond via Twitter.
“After the RNC last night, all I’m thinking is (•_•) <) )╯REGISTER / \ \(•_•) ( (> TO / \ (•_•) <) )> VOTE / \,” Bush tweeted.Hours later, she added: “Since I decided to run for office and especially since I won the primary, people have commented on everything from my clothing, to my hair, to my hips, to my AAVE [African American Vernacular English]. I am a Black woman and I am proud of it. I am the people I serve, and I’m bringing that to Congress.”
The McCloskeys say they feared for their lives as a crowd, many but not all of whom were Black, walked past the couple’s mansion in the Central West End on their way to demonstrate at the nearby home of Mayor Lyda Krewson. The McCloskeys have been charged with a felony for brandishing their guns.
President Donald Trump shared videos of the confrontation and invited the McCloskeys to speak at the convention at which he is accepting the party’s nomination for president.
In the McCloskeys’ presentation, Patricia McCloskey falsely claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his party want to “abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning.”
Biden does not propose banishing single-family homes. Nor would he get rid of the suburbs.Patricia McCloskey said, “They want to abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning. This forced rezoning would bring crime, lawlessness and low-quality apartments into thriving suburban neighborhoods. President Trump smartly ended this government overreach, but Joe Biden wants to bring it back.”
That’s a false account of what Biden supports.
In 2015, during President Barack Obama’s administration, a regulation took effect intended to ensure that racial segregation in housing is confronted.
The rule, put in place to strengthen enforcement of the landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968, for the first time required more than 1,200 jurisdictions receiving federal Housing and Urban Development block grants and housing aid to analyze their housing stock and come up with plans to combat patterns of segregation and discrimination.
The rule did not eliminate zoning for single-family homes in the suburbs.
The Trump administration suspended full implementation of the rule in 2018 and withdrew a data tool designed to help cities analyze their housing, arguing it was too costly and burdensome.
Then last month Trump revoked the rule and tweeted to the “Suburban Housewives of America” that “Biden will destroy your neighborhood and your American Dream.” He made what fair housing advocates considered a racist argument, playing on unfounded fear that low-income apartments would be forced into affluent neighborhoods.
Biden supports the 2015 regulation. But he does not support requiring municipalities to refrain from building single-family homes as a condition for getting money from HUD — the heart of the distorted claims by Trump and the McCloskeys.
The issue has become a sensitive election-year topic, especially in light of the protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.