During a performance at the Conservative Political Action Conference intended to illustrate the “mistreatment” of those detained after storming the Capitol on January 6, a convicted Capitol rioter spent the day in a fake jail cell.
In the end, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was moved by his sad performance, and she entered the cell and prayed for him.
The conservative activist spent the day in character, crying and adding up days on a whiteboard that was set up in the performance area while wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and a MAGA hat inside of a pretend cell.
The man was identified by WUSA reporter Jordan Fischer as Brandon Straka, the brainchild of the #WalkAway Foundation, which urged leftist Democrats to defect to Trump and the Republican Party. During the attack on the Capitol on January 6, Straka pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of Engaging in Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in the Capitol Building or Grounds; he was sentenced to 90 days of home confinement and three years of probation, but he was spared jail time, according to NPR.
Oh no, it's not a cult, not at all.
Marjorie Taylor Greene prayed over a convicted Capitol rioter who spent a day crying in a mock prison cell at CPAChttps://t.co/n17yrZBuLC
— Yarg Barkley (@BarkleyYarg) August 7, 2022
While he “does not endorse or condone the behavior of anybody who committed crimes on January 6th,” Straka stated in a statement to Insider that the performance’s goal was to draw attention to “the pain and suffering that has resulted from the division that exists among the American people.”
To “encourage all Americans to let go of hatred and animosity and begin to see the humanity in one another again, and have compassion for one another,” he continued,
Marjorie Taylor Greene knelt and prayed in front of a convicted criminal that ratted out other criminals from the insurrection she helped plan
— lemon_squares🍋 (@vintageautumnal) August 7, 2022
Using a “silent disco headset,” spectators could hear the January 6 defendants’ evidence during their trials, according to freelance writer Laura Jedeed, who tweeted the video.
According to Alex Pfeiffer, a representative for CPAC, “It’s tragic how many January 6 defendants were treated in jail.”
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
On Friday, Greene saw the performance and went into the eight-foot cage with Straka to join him in prayer. When the representative joined the act, the audience reportedly cheered loudly.
“She prayed with me for our nation,” Straka said. “Both sides of the aisle for all people and no, I thought it was a really beautiful, special moment.”
Not everyone found the performance to be compelling; former Illinois representative and Republican Joe Walsh described the show as “crazy.” Everyone at CPAC, he claimed, “everybody at CPAC, they don’t believe January 6 was a big deal or a bad thing.”
“My former political party is fully anti-democracy,” Walsh added.