A couple who face criminal charges for pointing guns at BLM protesters outside their St. Louis mansion are due to address the GOP convention

The St. Louis couple who threatened Black Lives Matter and anti-racism protesters with guns as the demonstrators marched near their mansion in June are scheduled to address the virtual Republican National Convention, it has been confirmed.

A Republican source told The Washington Post that Patricia and Mark McCloskey were on the billing for next week’s event, where they are expected to declare their support for President Donald Trump.

A Republican official later confirmed their scheduled appearance to CNN.

The McCloskeys have said they feared for their lives when they pointed loaded guns at protesters in footage shared widely on social media.

Nonetheless, prosecutors in St. Louis in July charged them with unlawful use of weapons. Their case has yet to be heard.

Conservatives have praised the couple as heroes, with Trump in a seeming mark of approval retweeting a video of the confrontation in June. He also defended them in a later interview with the conservative outlet interview with the conservative outlet Townhall.

“They were going to be beat up badly and the house was going to be totally ransacked or burned down like they tried to burn down churches,” Trump said.

There is little evidence that the crowd was about to behave violently. The McCloskeys say the protesters broke down a gate to enter the property, but KMOV reported that footage showed that the gate was not damaged.

The couple say they were threatened by the protesters, a claim denied by protest leaders, according to CBS News.

The couple have already spoken at a virtual Trump campaign event, CBS reported in July.

The protests that swept the US following the police killing of George Floyd in May have become a central issue to the 2020 election campaign.

Trump has sought to portray the protests as the work of violent anarchists and left-wing mobs, while Democrats have pledged to address the systemic racial inequality that they say underlies them.

The president has also sought to appeal to the fears of suburban Americans in what critics have alleged is a thinly disguised attempt at racist fearmongering. His actions to woo such voters includes reversing an Obama-era rule designed to tackle racial segregation.

Trump has claimed that the move places power back in the hands of local communities, and stops “low income” households swamping suburban areas.

Both themes are likely to figure prominently at the convention, as Republicans seek to energize supporters and overturn Trump’s polling deficit.

On Monday night, Democrats had launched their virtual convention, where they were addressed by former First Lady Michelle Obama.

*story by Business Insider