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A gay Trump supporter has been arrested by the FBI over his participation in the attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Brandon Straka, a hairdresser and “former liberal” who founded the #WalkAway campaign to convince Democrats to support Republican candidates, was arrested Monday, Jan. 25, in Omaha, ABC affiliate KETV reports.
Agents from the FBI Omaha Field Office detained Straka, 44, and charged him with impeding a law enforcement officer during civil disorder, knowingly entering and remaining on restricted grounds without lawful authority, engaging in disorderly conduct within proximity to a restricted building to impede official functions, and engaging in disorderly conduct with intent to disturb a hearing before Congress.
According to court documents, Straka was identified by law enforcement after allegedly posting a video to Twitter showing him shouting “go, go!” near the Capitol entrance.
While the FBI was unable to obtain a copy of the video, they did obtain screenshots of tweets Straka sent on Jan. 6, when hundreds of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol in an attempt to prevent the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Straka’s tweets included multiple references to the attack on the Capitol, including instructing his fellow “patriots” at the Capitol to “HOLD. THE. LINE!!!!”
Another tweet read: “I arrived at the Capitol a few hours ago as Patriots were storming from all sides. I was quite close to entering myself as police began tear-gassing us from the door. I inhaled tear gas & got it in my eyes. Patriots began exiting shortly after saying Congress had been cleared.”
Straka declared that he was present during the attempted insurrection, after complaining that people on the political Right who had supported a “revolution” prior to Jan. 6 were now “virtual [sic] signaling their embarrassment that this happened.”
He also dismissed claims made by some, including hosts on Fox News, that the riots were the result of “antifa” rather than Trump-supporting domestic terrorists.
“Also- be embarrassed & hide if you need to- but I was there,” he wrote. “It was not Antifa at the Capitol. It was freedom loving Patriots who were DESPERATE to fight for the final hope of our Republic because literally nobody cares about them. Everyone else can denounce them. I will not.”
In another message, Straka writes, “Perhaps I missed the part where it was agreed this would be a revolution of ice cream cones & hair-braiding parties to take our government back from lying, cheating globally interested swamp parasites. My bad.”
KETV reports that multiple witnesses also provided videos to the FBI showing Straka shouting “we’re going in!” and “Go! Go!” outside the Capitol.
Straka also reportedly urged rioters to steal a Capitol Police officer’s riot shield, with one video showing a crowd of domestic terrorists surging past an officer who held his shield in the air, causing Straka to shout, “Take it away from him.”
This led to others responding, “Take the shield,” and trying to grab the shield from the officer, while Straka yelled, “Take it! Take it!”
Straka remains in federal custody following his arrest and will have his first court appearance on Tuesday, Jan. 26.
Last year, Straka made headlines after he was removed from an American Airlines flight for refusing to wear a face mask.
Straka was filmed arguing with flight attendants after boarding the flight at LaGuardia airport — reportedly while en route to a Trump campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla.
One passenger who live tweeted Straka’s meltdown on the plane said that he refused to wear a mask and refused to provide any paperwork that supported his decision. After Straka was eventually removed from the plane, the other passengers reportedly applauded.
Straka, meanwhile, took to social media to vent his frustrations over the perceived injustice, calling American Airlines’ decision to remove him “absolutely insane.”
Fallout from the attempted insurrection on Jan. 6 has led to hundreds of arrests, including one of the organizers of “Straight Pride,” who was charged last week with knowingly entering or remaining in restricted buildings or ground without lawful authority and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Earlier this month, the FBI also raided the home of a gay far-right activist after he boasted online about attending the Capitol riots.
Kristopher Dreww, of Huntington, Calif., unsuccessfully attempted to backtrack on his claims after it became clear that the FBI was actively investigating those who stormed the Capitol, calling it a “waste of time” to investigate him.
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