One of the booths at CPAC in Dallas, Texas, had a “silent disco” with a man posing as a January 6 inmate crying in a cell.
Freelance journalist Laura Jedeed shared on Twitter that it was “the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen”.
“At this CPAC booth, you’ll receive a silent disco headset that plays harrowing testimony from people arrested for participating in” the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, she added. “Instead of dancing, stand by and watch this man cry.”
“What I want you to understand is that I stood here for about half an hour yesterday and this man NEVER broke character. He cried sitting on the couch. He cried sitting on the floor. He counted days on a blackboard set up for that purpose,” she wrote in a follow-up tweet.
Twitter users were quick to mock the scheme.
Crooked Media’s Tommy Vietor, a former Obama administration staffer, tweeted: “This is unbelievable. A crying rebellious pajama boy art installation.”
stronghold editor Jim Swift wrote that the installation served as a “reminder that the GOP’s craziest elements are mostly failed theater geeks”.
The Atlantic Ocean staff writer McKay Coppins added that “right-wing victimization as a performance art is actually the whole point of CPAC, so this makes sense”.
According to WUSA9 reporter Jordan Fischer, the man pretending to be incarcerated is Brandon Straka, the founder of the “Walk Away” campaign launched ahead of the 2018 midterms to urge liberals to leave the Democratic Party. He was reportedly involved in the riots but avoided jail time because of “substantial” collaborations with investigators, according to statements by his lawyers in sentencing memos.
A person Straka shared information about with the FBI is serving a 60-day prison sentence, with prosecutors saying his information was “valuable,” WUSA9 reported.
“Brandon Straka, who became a state witness and has not served time, has now spent more time in a fake prison than ever for his involvement in the J6 uprising,” tweeted Alejandra Caraballo.
“Boy, let me tell you about immigrants going through a lot worse just because they want a better life and security,” she added.
Rode magazine reporter CJ Ciaramella wrote, “I assume some of the people who spam my entries with ‘maybe do no crime’ are looking at this with heartbreak.”
Willamette University U.S. history professor Seth Cotlar tweeted: “Let’s not forget this is the same CPAC mob that gleefully shouted ‘lock her up’ over Hillary’s emails in previous years. But join a rebellious attempt to undermine the 2020 election? That is behavior that will lead to empathic tears at CPAC.”
“I give up. There are no redeeming qualities in these people. We are now in mitigation mode. We will do our best to stop the stupidity from spreading, but it is with us for a while. Brace yourself,” Michigan GOP Watch tweeted.
“If there wasn’t video evidence I literally never would have believed it could be real – even today in 2022 when our country has gone completely insane – this is crazy even by those standards. The right is so broken… it’s scary,” wrote another Twitter user.