A white couple pointed guns at St. Louis protesters Sunday evening, violently inserting themselves in the peaceful march of demonstrators demanding the resignation of the mayor over her handling of calls to defund the police. Footage of the gun-toting duo—a poorly held rifle for him, a teeny-tiny pistol for her—went viral on social media and even earned a retweet from shit-stirrer-in-chief President Trump. But who are these people who appear to live in a miniature replica of the Library of Congress?
The St. Louis Magazine article fawned over the couple’s decades-long renovation of the midwestern palazzo, which was once owned by Edward and Anna Busch Faust, son of a famed St. Louis restaurateur and daughter of Busch beer family, respectively. But when the McCloskeys bought the home, St. Louis reported, it was neglected and caked cigarette gray by decades of industrial coal.
The two Carrara marble urns out front, copies of a pair at the Vatican, had turned black, obscuring Neptune and his attending dolphins. The imported Caen limestone in the entry hall had been painted battleship gray, and the intricate wood carvings in the dining room (which, as Mark points out, are so detailed, you can see the birds’ individual claws), were smothered in layers of white and robin’s-egg blue. What had once been St. Louis’ most dazzling mansion now felt more like a haunted house. It didn’t help that the first time Mark and Patty turned the key in the door, the temperature had fallen to 4 below zero and the house didn’t have a functioning furnace.
But no longer. The McCloskeys reached out to one of the Fausts to acquire original furniture and art (“including Portrait of Anthony van Opstal, by Anthony van Dyck, c. 1632”), restored the “French silk damask wallcoverings,” and sandblasted the hell out of the foyer. Now, the mansion is a model of obscene, old-fashioned pomp.
Or, as conservative viral content pusher Caleb Hull calls it, “baller.”
From St. Louis Magazine:
The McCloskeys have had fun seeking out objects original to the house as well as filling it with their own antiques, including a rare 1560 stipo a bambocci carved wooden cabinet made in Genoa and a Louis XIII homme-debout (“standing man”) armoire, so named because, during the Reign of Terror, a gentleman could hide inside one.
Now the Caen limestone’s back to its original rosy gold, the perfect complement to a perfect copy of the lampada di Galileo in the Pisa Cathedral. It hangs from the top of the 45-foot-high rotunda dome, in front of a curved double staircase of marble leading to the second- and third-floor landings. The second floor rests on six 14-foot-tall Brescia Violetta marble columns; the third is held up by a series of 12-foot columns and pilasters decorated in a 17th-century Tuscan technique, scagliola, in which colored plaster is layered and polished to mimic marble. The art glass in the rotunda dome is newly restored, and its ceiling features four 28-foot-long classical murals on canvas. “They’re by a guy named Thomas,” Mark says. “We don’t know if that’s a first or last name—we found an article from the period that described him that way, so apparently he was so famous, he didn’t need an introduction.”
Hm, okay. But lest we forget the dining room and the ballroom:
The dining room is a re-creation of a residence chamber in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, constructed in 1458 by Luca Pitti, though its more famous residents included the Medicis and Napoleon Bonaparte. It took six people an entire year to carefully remove multiple layers of paint glommed over the intricate woodwork. The ceiling murals, however, were in great shape: “The guy who owns St. Louis Architectural Bronze said that when he was an art student at Wash. U., he lived here for two years, restoring the ceiling,” Mark says. “This is all on canvas, and it had all fallen in. He put it back up and repainted the parts that needed to be repainted, and you can’t tell.” Across the way in the solarium are gorgeous reproductions of 16th-century stained-glass windows decorated with cartouches, putti, and stylized vegetation, copies of the famous ones in Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library in Florence. And beyond those glowing panes is one of the most remarkable parts of the house: the ballroom.
It’s 70 feet long and 45 feet wide, a reproduction of the second-floor reception hall at the 14th-century Palazzo Davanzati in Florence. “The glass in the windows is actually from there,” Patty says, “and the shutters, at least the ironwork, are probably original.”
You can see more photos of the home at St. Louis Magazine here.
Perhaps it is fitting, then, that a couple of nouveau riche randoms who likely spent an ungodly sum of money trying to make their home resemble the prestige of ye olde France and Italy—because that’s what “fancy” is—would emerge from their mansion barefoot and wearing utterly tasteless khakis and capri pants, unable to properly wield their weapons against the harmless plebs that walked across their manicured lawn.
Money can buy you a palace. It could even buy you some 16th century art. It can’t buy you sense, and it can’t stop you from looking stupid online.
Update, 5:08 p.m.: Mark McCloskey, the gun-wielding mansion owner who looks like an extra in a Bush’s Baked Beans commercial, has spoken. In an interview with a local NBC affiliate, McCloskey said that he and his wife were eating dinner when he heard a commotion. He says a “mob” forced open the gate leading to the private street he and other owners of multi-million dollar homes reside. At this point, McCloskey said he warned them that they were intruding on private property and grabbed his rifle:
And when they ... because as soon as I said this is private property, those words enraged the crowd. Horde, absolute horde came through the now smashed down gates coming right at the house. My house, my east patio was 40 feet from Portland Place Drive. And these people were right up in my face, scared to death. And then, I stood out there. The only thing we said is this is private property. Go back. Private property. Leave now.
At that point, everybody got enraged. There were people wearing body armor. One person pulled out some loaded pistol magazine and clicked them together and said that you were next. We were threatened with our lives, threatened with a house being burned down, my office building being burned down, even our dog’s life being threatened. It was, it was about as bad as it can get. I mean, those you know, I really thought it was Storming the Bastille that we would be dead and the house would be burned and there was nothing we could do about it. It was a huge and frightening crowd.
McCloskey also claims he made sure not to point the rifle at anyone, which is contradicted by the numerous videos that have been released of the incident. And his apparent caution didn’t extend to his wife Patty, who did not hesitate to point her gun at protesters and whom Matt admitted knows nothing about guns in the interview.
Additionally, while Mark McCloskey calls himself an “urban pioneer” who wanted to improve the neighborhood, he’s actually just a paranoid white guy who thinks people should focus more on so-called black-on-black crime.
“We’d been told by the press and by Expect US, that they wanted to start targeting middle-class neighborhoods and upper-class neighborhoods and bring their revolution outside of the cities,” he said.
But here’s the real kicker. Emphasis mine:
There is there’s mayhem in the city every night. You never hear about it. There’ll be dozens of shootings, multiple deaths. No one seems to care about those black. lives. But but, you know, it’s when it’s when there are political, political capital to be made from somebody’s death. That death matters no other life matters that I can see, you know.
I do civil rights cases. Right now, I’m representing a young man who was assaulted by the police who is sitting in prison right now for being involved in a car accident after which the police came in and assaulted him. It’s on video. I’m not some kind of extreme, you know, anti- Black Lives Matter guy. I do these cases. I have been doing them for decades. I mean, I have on the wall of my conference room, I’ve got an anti-slavery broadsheet, the abolitionist broadsheet from 1832. It’s been there as long as I’ve owned this building. I mean, I’m not I’m not the enemy of people that really care about the Black lives, but I’m apparently the enemy of the terrorists and the Marxists that are running this organization.
The “some of my best friends are black” crew have to step up their game. Mark McCloskey is the new blueprint.