Brandon Straka told Mark Levin last Tuesday that he has gone through an “unbelievable nightmare” at the hands of the government since joining the sea of Trump loyalists trying to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He then vowed to “take down the Democratic Party.”
A self-proclaimed “former liberal,” Straka founded Walk Away, a campaign encouraging people to leave the Democratic Party for the Republican Party, and he became an early organizer with the so-called Stop the Steal campaign. This fall, he pleaded guilty to federal prosecutors’ charge that he engaged in disorderly and disruptive conduct on the U.S. Capitol grounds on Jan. 6 and that he “did so with the intent to impeded, disrupt, or disrupt” a session of Congress—in this case, to disrupt the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.
On Jan. 24, District Judge Dabney Friedrich, a Trump appointee in Washington, D.C., sentenced Straka to three years of probation, three months of house arrest, 60 hours of community service, a fine of $5,000, and an additional $500 fine for the damage done to the Capitol building by insurrectionists. She said she found it “deeply troubling” that Straka used his large social media presence to defend what happened on Jan. 6.
Straka spoke to Levin on the Feb. 1 episode of “The Mark Levin Show,” presenting what he said was his first time publicly sharing his story of what happened that day. He claimed he now suffers from “PTSD” caused by his arrest and detainment and bristled at being treated like an “insurrectionist.”
Straka was an early organizer with the so-called Stop the Steal campaign. The day following the campaign’s first rally in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14, Straka held a Walk Away rally in the city featuring Stop the Steal leader Ali Alexander and Drew Hernandez, the latter of whom spoke of “civil war” and celebrated the violence of the Proud Boys hate group.
On Jan. 5, Straka joined far-right operatives and conspiracy theorists like Ali Alexander and Alex Jones at a Stop the Steal rally where Christian nationalist sentiment and threats of violence were ubiquitous. Straka told Levin his speech that evening was “very fiery, which I thought at the time was still legally permitted in the United States.”
“Patriots! Welcome to the revolution!” He shouted to the crowd that evening. “This is a revolution. We are part of a revolution. … It has taken this long to losing Donald Trump to wake up the beast in the American people.”
Straka was also scheduled to speak on Jan. 6 at the “Wild Protest” rally to be held by the Stop the Steal campaign at the Capitol. As he headed toward the Capitol to give his speech, he was informed that the Capitol had been breached, but he told Levin he had not understood what that meant. He arrived at the Capitol on the east side and took an 8-minute-long video of himself and other Trump loyalists trying force their way into the Capitol.
Straka claims he had his hands above his head as he was recording the video with his phone—the suggestion being that he couldn’t see what was happening on the screen. He also claimed to have not seen any violence.
But in one scene, Straka is heard telling the mob to “go, go, go” as they reached the Capitol, trying to force their way inside. In another, rioters were wrestling a shield away from a U.S. Capitol Police officer, and Straka yells, “take it, take it!”
His posts on Twitter from Jan. 6, which were included in prosecutors’ complaint, echoed his instructions to the mob and revealed his desire to start a real revolution to, in his words, “take our government back from lying, cheating globally interested swamp parasites.”
“Patriots at the Capitol – HOLD. THE. LINE!!!!” he tweeted.
In another, he admitted to trying to storm the Capitol: “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.”
As Republican leaders and right-wing commentators began baselessly claiming that anti-fascist activists were to blame in the evening of Jan. 6, Straka held his ground in cheering on the insurrectionists in a series of tweets:
- “I’m completely confused. For 6-8 weeks everybody on the right has been saying ‘1776!’ & that if congress moves forward it will mean a revolution! So congress moves forward. Patriots storm the Capitol – now everybody is virtual signaling their embarrassment that this happened.”
- “Also- be embarrassed & hide if you need to- but I was there. 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.”
- “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.”
Despite calling for a revolution and encouraging violence, Straka recalled being shocked when the FBI presented him with a search warrant and put him in handcuffs.
“For me, this is really where the source of the PTSD began because within a moment, I lost my identity as a human being, I stopped being Brandon Straka, let alone Brandon Straka the Walk Away campaign guy, and I was wearing an orange jumpsuit and sitting in jail,” Straka told Levin, echoing the Jan. 6 defendants who, sitting in jail, suddenly became prison reformers.
“During those two days, I sat in that cell literally just breaking down emotionally because I thought myself, this is now Jan. 25, 2021, so Joe Biden became president five days before I got arrested, the Democrats have now taken full control of the federal government, I’m Brandon Straka the Walk Away from the Democrats founder, and now I’m sitting in a concrete cell,” he continued, becoming increasingly emotional. “There are hundreds of people who are facing nonviolent low-level misdemeanor charges who are being treated like terrorists, like insurrectionists in this country. I actually fall into this category—the government has actually put me on a terrorism watch list.”
“We have completely allowed the left to take complete control of this narrative,” he added, ignoring MAGA world’s efforts to blame the insurrection on left-wing agitators and defend the attack as legitimate political discourse.
Straka ended his interview with a plea for funding and a pledge to get back at the Democratic Party.
“My organization Walk Away is going to comeback bigger and better than ever, and we’re going to take down the Democratic Party,” Straka vowed. “We’re going to take all of these people down.”