A white St Louis couple facing charges for brandishing guns at peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters have baselessly accused Democrats of “protecting criminals from honest citizens” and trying to “abolish the suburbs”.

In a pre-recorded speech to the Republican national convention on Monday night, Mark and Patricia McCloskey said the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, would invite unchecked lawlessness into American suburbs if he wins the November election.

“It seems as if the Democrats no longer view the government’s job as protecting honest citizens from criminals, but rather protecting criminals from honest citizens,” Mark McCloskey said, in one of many of the evening’s speeches that broke with the optimistic vision Republican organizers had promised.

“Not a single person in the out-of-control mob you saw at our house was charged with a crime. But you know who was? We were.”

There is no evidence to support the claim the marchers were an “out-of-control mob”. Protesters filmed passing the couple were peaceful.

The couple came into the national spotlight in June after they were captured on camera pointing weapons at demonstrators who marched past their mansion to protest against racism and police brutality. Donald Trump retweeted video footage of the incident.

They appeared to be echoing Trump’s attempts to stoke racist fears among affluent, white suburban voters who have been abandoning the Republican party under his leadership.

“They want to abolish the suburbs altogether by ending single-family home zoning,” Patricia McCloskey said of the Democrats, adding that the actions “would bring crime, lawlessness and low-quality apartments into thriving suburban neighborhoods”.

“Make no mistake: no matter where you live, your family will not be safe in the radical Democrats’ America.”

Trump and his supporters have zeroed in on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, an Obama-era program implemented in 2015 that was designed to reduce racial segregation in American suburbs. The president has claimed it would increase crime and lower house prices, claims that have been denounced as racist.

Trump’s support among suburban voters has cratered amid his administration’s failure to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the ensuing economic crisis, as well as the president’s aggressive response to the nationwide protests against systemic racism, which polls suggest most Americans, including those in the country’s increasingly diverse suburbs, support.

Monday was the first of the four-night Republican convention, in which a dizzying array of misleading and fear-mongering claims were made about a range of issues from the administration’s coronavirus response to the notion that Biden would defund police departments, which Biden has denied.

Lauren Gambino contributed to this report

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