A booth at CPAC displayed a conservative activist in a jail cell acting like an incarcerated January 6 rioter.
The performance drew the eyes, and prayers, of Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Politico reported in April 2021 that pre-trial detainees in a DC jail were placed in “restrictive housing.”
A convicted Capitol rioter spent the day in a prop cell at the Conservative Political Action Conference during a performance aimed at highlighting the “mistreatment” of those jailed after storming the Capitol on Jan. 6.
His tearful performance ultimately drew the eyes — and prayers — of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
The conservative activist, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit and MAGA hat inside of a prop cell, spent the day in character, weeping and tallying days on a chalkboard set up within the performance space.
WUSA reporter Jordan Fischer identified the man as Brandon Straka, founder of the #WalkAway Foundation, which encouraged liberal voters to abandon the Democratic party and vote for Trump. Straka pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of Engaging in Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in the Capitol Building or Grounds during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, receiving 90 days home confinement and three years probation, but avoided jail time, NPR reported.
Straka said in a statement to Insider that the purpose of the performance was to highlight “the pain and suffering that has resulted from the division that exists among the American people,” but he “does not endorse or condone the behavior of anybody who committed crimes on January 6th.”
He added that his hope was 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.”
The freelance reporter who tweeted the video, Laura Jedeed, explained that viewers were able to wear a “silent disco headset” and listen to the testimony of January 6 defendants during their trials.
“It’s tragic how many January 6 defendants were treated in jail,” Alex Pfeiffer, a spokesperson for CPAC, told Insider in an emailed statement.
Georgia Rep. Greene came across the performance Friday and entered the eight-foot cage, kneeling beside Straka to join him in prayer. The Daily Mail reported a large cheer erupted from the crowd when the representative joined the performance.
“She prayed with me for our nation,” Straka told the Daily Mail. “Both sides of the aisle for all people and no, I thought it was a really beautiful, special moment.”
Not everyone saw the performance as moving: Joe Walsh, a former Republican and Illinois representative called the exhibit “crazy.” He said the performance meant “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.
Representatives for Greene did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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