Mark McCloskey, Fox News celebrity, announces U.S. Senate run

Carlson and McCloskey

Mark McCloskey, a lawyer facing felony charges after pointing a firearm at Black Lives Matter protesters, announced that he is seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in his home state of Missouri during a Tuesday interview on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight. It was an appropriate venue for the announcement, as Carlson and his colleagues helped make McCloskey a right-wing cause celebre during last summer’s protests against police brutality and racism.

Before last year, McCloskey and his wife, Patricia, were likely best known in their home state as extraordinarily litigious neighbors. But the couple became nationally infamous on June 28, when a video of them intercepting and brandishing firearms at a large group of protesters who had entered their private street went viral online.

Fox commentators were at that time trying to defame the nationwide protests against police brutality and racism launched in response to the police murder of George Floyd in Minnesota. The right-wing propagandists made it their mission to rehabilitate the pair as innocent, salt-of-the-earth victims defending their home from the mob. 

Carlson, for instance, called the McCloskeys “citizens who dared defend themselves,” having “no choice” but to take up arms against “screaming BLM fanatics” who are “violent criminals … being used as a militia by the Democratic Party to seize power.” 

The McCloskeys became fixtures on the network. Mark McCloskey made at least 13 Fox weekday appearances before last night, eight of which came over roughly the month following the incident. Those interviews often came on the network’s highest-rated shows -- he had four turns on Carlson’s program and six on Sean Hannity’s prime-time broadcast. 

That push from Fox, the network watched obsessively by then-President Donald Trump, likely garnered the McCloskeys a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in August. 

Fox’s promotion got Mark McCloskey this far, making him a plausible candidate for office. And his campaign promises to hew to the buzzwords and talking points frequently discussed on the network. 

“What I've learned is that people out there in this country are just sick and tired of cancel culture, and the poison of critical race theory, and the big lie of systemic racism, all backed up by the threat of mob violence, and people are just sick of it,” he said on Carlson’s show Tuesday. He also accused President Joe Biden and the Democrats of the “wholesale slaughter of our civil liberties and wholesale institution of what cannot be called anything but socialism.”

Fox is a frequent staging ground for GOP candidates. It currently employs Lara Trump, Trump’s daughter-in-law who is considering a run for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, gave a boost to Virginia gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin, and incubated the potential campaign of former NFL star Herschel Walker.