One of the curious byproducts of the Trump era in American politics is the cornucopia of lesser right-wing lunatics and grifters, who looked at the former president's political success and thought, "Well, jeez, I can do that!" Because if Trump's ascendency within the Republican party has proven anything, it's that there's no level of villainy, or incompetence, or public humiliation that can keep a dedicated ghoul out of office — so long as they're infamous and shameless enough to capture the public's attention.
Enter Mark McCloskey: attorney, convention speaker, and enthusiastic neighborhood nuisance, who made a national name for himself as the the AR-15 toting half of the "St. Louis Gun Couple" filmed outside their fortified mansion menacing social justice protesters last summer.
Now, McCloskey can add another title to his long list of appellations: 2022 Republican candidate for the United States Senate.
"God came knocking at my door last summer disguised as an angry mob," McCloskey told Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Tuesday night, as part of his campaign announcement. "It really did wake me up."
On his newly launched campaign website, McCloskey touts his conservative bona fides, writing that he and his wife "campaigned extensively in support of President Trump and continue to speak around the nation on their support of the Constitution, the traditional values that have made the USA the greatest nation on earth, and the current threats to its continued existence."
McCloskey's campaign kickoff video is equally hyperbolic, seeking to leverage the incident that brought him into the public eye — and earned him a felony charge — by asking in a bizarre monotone "when was the last time a politician defended you, defended America, stood between you and the mob?"
This is far from McCloskey's first time seeking to torque his gun-brandishing incident into a means for personal gain. He and his wife also created a series of autographed glossy photographs of themselves burnishing their firearms on the steps of their mansion, which they've apparently begun handing out as extra-special bonus tips to well wishers, and also unsuspecting servers at restaurants.
As far as actual politics goes, McCloskey's campaign platform is virtually indistinguishable from every other post-Trump Republican slate: fighting against cancel culture and critical race theory, ensuring "election integrity" with a series of voter suppression tactics, criminalizing abortions, and — unsurprisingly — working to put as many guns in as many hands as possible.
But aside from a conspicuously generic set of political priorities, McCloskey's bid to replace outgoing Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt (R) will be an uphill climb. Not only will he be running in the GOP primary against seasoned politicians — including former Governor Eric Greitens and State Attorney General Eric Schmitt — but he'll also be forced to deal with his long history of being, well, the absolute worst.
According to extensive research by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the McCloskeys have spent years filing lawsuits over just about everything, from petty property disputes, to dog breeding malfeasance, to issues with their luxury Italian car. In one particularly egregious incident, the now-Senate candidate proudly took credit for destroying a series of bee hives created by a nearby synagogue that had hoped to harvest the honey before the Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah.
“The children were crying in school,” Rabbi Susan Talve told the Post-Dispatch. “It was part of our curriculum.”
Speaking with Carlson on Tuesday night, however, McCloskey was eager to position himself as a regular (millionaire) Joe ready to bring some much needed realism to the Senate, claiming he'd be different from the "poseurs and egotists and career politicians going to D.C."
Because, if anyone is going to show those poseurs and egoists what's what, it's the guy who hands out autographed glossies of himself posing.