SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The image was seen around the world. A couple in St. Louis aiming guns at protesters from their property on a private street at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Now that couple was in Lackawanna County with a strong message of support for the president and they have a prominent local Republican leader to back them up.
They made headlines when a video showed them pointing guns at protesters in their St. Louis neighborhood, now they’re sharing their side of the story. It’s part of a campaign tour that brought them to the Lackawanna County Republican Headquarters in Scranton.
A crowd of nearly 80 people greeted the Trump tour bus as it arrived in Scranton on Wednesday.
On it, Mark and Patricia McCloskey. You may recognize them from one video. The incident in June sparked controversy nationwide. Now they’re campaigning for President Trump’s re-election.
“We have seen firsthand what happens when the mob comes to your door. We know firsthand what happens when Democrats control cities. Not just acquiescent violence but actually promote it,” Mark McCloskey said.
This is what he says happened that day.
“We were going to have dinner out on the patio but instead we got invaded by a mob and had to defend ourselves against it,” McCloskey said.
Now he says they’re facing felony charges. Joined by Lou Barletta, they used their story to paint a stark contrast between the two candidates.
A safe America, someone that stands up for law and order and brings jobs back especially here in Pennsylvania or someone who where we’re watching riots and statues being torn down and not denouncing that,” Barletta said.
But not everyone buys their story.
“I’m disgusted that our president would have them at the forefront of his tour,” Action Together NEPA Outreach and Membership Coordinator Alicia Duque said.
Steve Edwards from Avoca says it’s not about law and order, it’s about intimidation.
“Where was the danger at if you were able to stand out on the front and point your gun at the members while they’re going across the way, Where was the danger at, at all?” Edwards said.
The McCloskeys say they were in danger. Supporters say they don’t want to find themselves in a similar position.
“St. Louis is the epitome of Democratic-run cities and if we have a Democratic president, that will be everywhere,” Patricia McCloskey said.
But Edwards says the real problem is the divide.
“I think it’s the job of the country to try to get along and to make this thing a peaceful resolution because what we are as Americans,” Edwards said.
This was their last stop in Pennsylvania after touring the state for four days.
Founding member of Black Lives Matter Wilkes-Barre, Daryl Lewis weighed in on the visit, saying in a statement: “Commercializing civil unrest, much like George Zimmerman only further distances communities and contributes to the narratives of cultural distance and incompatibility. I wish people would put more effort into unifying, rather than celebrating and creating symbols of segregation and schism. Is this how America is to be made great again?”