Rabbi Susan Talve decided to open up about her experiences with the white middle-aged couple, after discovering that they would be speaking at the Republican National Convention.
“It’s so upsetting that they have a national audience,” Talve told The Forward. “It’s upsetting we make heroes out of people who hate.” The McCloskeys’ home neighbors Talve’s synagogue, St. Louis’ Jewish Central Reform Congregation, where Talve is the rabbi.
Talve has had some upsetting interactions with the McCloskeys, who spoke at the convention on Monday. In 2013, the synagogue placed beehives along its shared wall in order to produce honey for Rosh Hashanah. However, one day, Talve discovered that Mr. McCloskey had destroyed all the hives and killed the bees—because Talve was encroaching mere inches onto the couple's property line.
She said the McCloskeys didn’t reach out before they demolished the hives, and instead, left them a note threatening to sue the synagogue for damages if they didn’t immediately remove the beehives.
“I’m willing to speak out now because there’s such a lack of civility that’s happening, and I don’t feel like I can be a part of that, and silence is complicity," Talve said.
“They are bullies,” she added. “The fact that they’re speaking at the convention is a win for bullies.”
But based on their speech at the RNC, it appears that the McCloskeys see themselves as the victims in a Democratic-run city that doesn’t protect them from perceived lawlessness.
“What you saw happen to us could just as easily happen to you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country,” Mrs. McCloskey said on Monday.
“It seems the Democrats view the job of the government as protecting criminals from honest citizens,” her husband added.
The McCloskeys went viral when Black Lives Matter protesters marched by their mansion on June 28, prompting the couple to brandish weapons at the demonstrators. Talve said that the McCloskeys’ reaction to the protest was just another example of how they’re bullies.
Talve told the publication that the real hero in the June 28 encounter is St. Louis circuit attorney Kimberly Garner, who filed charges against the couple for unlawful use of weapons and pointing firearms at protesters, a class E felony.
“The protestors were not charged with a crime,” Mr, McCloskey said at the convention, “but she charged us with felonies for daring to defend our home.” Trump also publicly condemned Gardner for prosecuting the couple.
“These are the values that this administration has been putting forward, values that sow hate among people,” Talve said. “They stand for a kind of white supremacist system. Our resistance is to love each other.”