The second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) kicked off in Texas Friday and while there were presentations from the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), JD Vance, and Drs. Robert Malone and Peter McCullough, what happened offstage with a former Jan. 6 defendant seemed to truly steal the show.
Attendees flocked to the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas to hear like-minded voices and interact with conservative organizations. However, one booth at the convention offered a unique and insightful performative experience drawing back a curtain that corporate media and sham partisan investigative hearings have tried to hold shut.
A makeshift jail cell had been erected within the hall where a barefoot man wearing an orange jumpsuit and a Make America Great Again hat offered a dramatic representation of the day-to-day existence of those being detained in connection to the breach of the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“Hello,” freelance journalist Laura Jedeed wrote on Twitter sharing a video of the display, “I would like to share with you the most astonishing thing I have ever seen.”
Hello I would like to share with you the most astonishing thing I have ever seen
At this CPAC booth you receive a silent disco headset that plays harrowing testimony from people arrested for participating in J6
Instead of dancing, you stand around and watch this guy cry pic.twitter.com/cin6F5zDhz
— Laura Jedeed (@LauraJedeed) August 5, 2022
“At this CPAC booth you receive a silent disco headset that plays harrowing testimony from people arrested for participating in J6,” she claimed as she described the scene and added, “Instead of dancing, you stand around and watch this guy cry.”
The individual, who was said to never break character throughout his time in the cell, was reported to be Brandon Straka, the founder of the #WalkAway movement who had pleaded guilty to being in a restricted area on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6.
Brandon Straka was the man in a cage today. People listened to audio accounts from J6 prisoners on headphones. They wept. And threw money at him. pic.twitter.com/fWLrbXxwMs
— Tess Owen (@misstessowen) August 5, 2022
Straka had been arrested by an FBI SWAT team days after the events in Washington, D.C., and had remained silent on social media about his ordeal until a year later when he penned a letter to recount some of his experience.
“I hardly know where to begin. One year ago yesterday an FBI swat team came into my home at dawn, put me in handcuffs, and put me in a concrete cell for several days,” he wrote. “This was the beginning of what has turned into a year-long nightmare fraught with mistruths, misinformation, abuse of legal process, and a savage campaign to destroy me.”
‘Walk Away’ founder Brandon Straka breaks silence on ‘year-long nightmare’ at hands of the feds https://t.co/jrZxvwOUeU
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) January 29, 2022
Included in the cell with Straka was a chalkboard where he had written “WHERE IS EVERYONE?” and scratch tally marks to indicate days incarcerated. The entire display was meant to show how little attention is being given to the defendants who have reportedly been detained without due process, two of whom have committed suicide since being held as political prisoners according to many.
The #WalkAway founder, whose movement encourages individuals to leave the Democratic Party, had also taken the stage during the day when he was joined by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) who wound up in the unenviable position of being in Straka’s crosshairs.
“So, while we have a congressman onstage, I’m going to ask, what are you going to do about it?” he asked Biggs who was then heckled by the audience who demanded the lawmaker “Try harder!” instead of merely pushing for Republican turnout during the midterm elections.
Congressman Biggs is now getting heckled by members of the crowd who view people charged for January 6 crimes as political prisoners after Straka says no sitting congressman has tried to help him.
“Try harder!” pic.twitter.com/NJDCm3bwPI
— steven monacelli (@stevanzetti) August 5, 2022
DALLAS—Brandon Straka’s booth being swarmed at CPAC after he confronts Rep. Andy Biggs on stage for what he said wasn’t doing enough for January 6 defendants pic.twitter.com/iNECvRMafa
— Kate Scanlon (@kgscanlon) August 5, 2022
In contrast, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) who has actively campaigned to help the Jan. 6 defendants joined in Straka’s demonstration and visited him in his cell showing that not all politicians had abandoned those who were arrested.
Then … Marjorie Taylor Greene showed up and got in the cage with him pic.twitter.com/0FWdFkNpht
— Tess Owen (@misstessowen) August 5, 2022
Straka later went on to explain that his problem was not with Biggs and that attendees should recognize “My anger &frustration-&yours, too- is w Repub. leadership entirely- not one person. He just happened to have the misfortune of sitting next to me today…He is not a bad guy.”
Please do NOT express anger or hatred toward Congressman Andy Biggs. My anger &frustration- &yours, too- is w Repub. leadership entirely- not one person. He just happened to have the misfortune of sitting next to me today. I would have said it to any of them. He is not a bad guy.
— Brandon Straka (@BrandonStraka) August 5, 2022
The performance took place the same week that the longest sentence of any Jan. 6 defendant had been handed down to Guy Wesley Reffitt who is slated for 87 months in prison and three years probation for, among other charges, obstruction of an official proceeding despite never entering the Capitol.
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