Senate candidate McCloskey shows support for Rittenhouse

Republican Mark McCluskey, a candidate for the US Senate in Missouri, was pictured Tuesday outside a Wisconsin courthouse where Kyle Rittenhouse was on trial for murder with two people holding a banner linked to white supremacists.

McCluskey and his wife Patricia were in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Monday and Tuesday to show support for Rittenhouse. The McCluskey family gained national attention after they waved guns at racial injustice protesters marching through a walled St. Louis sub-borough last summer.

They were among a group of people outside the courtroom, some supporting Rittenhouse and others opposing, who began gathering on Monday during closing arguments. There were dozens of people outside on Tuesday as the jury spent the whole day debating the case before ending the day around 6pm without reaching a verdict.

McCluskey pleaded guilty in June to misdemeanor charges after brandishing guns at protesters and ordered fines to be paid, but Mark McCluskey defiantly left court vowing to “do it again” if faced with the same circumstances. McCluskey was pardoned by Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson

Mark McCluskey himself compared Rittenhouse in a statement released on Tuesday, saying that they were tried and were defending themselves against an “angry mob”. McCluskey said he hopes the jury will find Rittenhouse not guilty.

Rittenhouse was 17 years old when he shot and killed two people and wounded a third during a violent night of protests that came in the wake of a white Kenosha policeman shooting Jacob Blake, the black man. Rittenhouse and all three people shot are white. Rittenhouse says he acted in self-defence. If convicted of the most serious first-degree murder charge, he can spend the rest of his life in prison.

McCluskey was photographed on Tuesday standing next to two men flashing the “OK” sign associated with white supremacists.

Rittenhouse was also photographed in January with two men making an “OK” sign with their hands. The judge ruled in September not to allow this to be discussed during Rittenhouse’s trial.

McCloskey’s campaign phone rang unanswered on Tuesday and a message left with the law firm’s answering service was not immediately returned.

McCluskey announced in May that he was running for the Senate seat after being vacated by retired Republican Roy Blunt. The big field includes Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmidt, Republican members of Congress Billy Long and Vicki Hartzler, and former Gov. Eric Grettens, who resigned amid a sex scandal in 2018.

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Associated Press writer Margaret Stafford contributed to this report in Liberty, Missouri.



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