Mark McCloskey, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, is in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as a jury deliberates in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial.
Rittenhouse, now 18, is on trial for fatally shooting two men and wounding another during protests against racial injustice following a police shooting last year. At issue is whether Rittenhouse, who had traveled to Kenosha from Illinois during the protests, acted in self-defense or instigated the incidents that led to two men dying. He is charged with five felonies.
McCloskey — who had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges stemming from an incident last year also involving protestors and firearms and was subsequently pardoned by the governor — said he traveled to Wisconsin to support Rittenhouse. He argued Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense.
In a lengthy statement posted to social media, McCloskey compared his situation to that of Rittenhouse’s.
“When the angry mob attacked Kyle with the intent of causing bodily harm, Kyle had no choice but to act. When the angry mob came to my door, threatened to harm me and my family, and burn down our home, my wife Patty and I had no choice but to stand our ground and defend our home and our lives,” McCloskey said.
“We were prosecuted. Kyle is being prosecuted. But make no mistake, they aren’t just after people like Kyle and me. They want to eliminate your right to defend yourself from the angry mobs they continually support,” McCloskey, an attorney, added. “They want to destroy our country by bringing violence to all of our neighborhoods so that no one will feel safe. I will never stand for that. When the police are not allowed to defend law-abiding citizens, we have to defend ourselves.”
As the jury deliberates, I am in Kenosha to support Kyle Rittenhouse as he fights for his right to self defense. I know what it's like to be prosecuted for standing up against a violent mob, and I hope Kyle Rittenhouse will get the justice he deserves. pic.twitter.com/NiBwGKo3jc
— Mark McCloskey (@mccloskeyusa) November 16, 2021
McCloskey’s wife, Patricia, is also in Kenosha. The couple had to turn over firearms to the state and pay fines when they pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges from when they brandished firearms in the direction of protestors who marched past their home in July 2020.
McCloskey is one of several Republicans in Missouri vying for the seat Senator Roy Blunt is vacating. Former Gov. Eric Greitens and Attorney General Eric Schmitt have made trips to Texas to the southern border so far during the campaign.
Jurors in the Rittenhouse trial began deliberating Tuesday morning. National Guard troops have been sent to Kenosha ahead of the verdict in case they are needed by local law enforcement.
In addition to McCloskey, Schmitt, and Greitens, Congressman Billy Long, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, and state Sen. Dave Schatz are all vying for the GOP nomination.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn was the editor in chief of The Missouri Times from 2020-2022. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.