National security experts have been warning about the ever-growing radicalization of far-right supporters of President Donald Trump, and an article by journalist William Turton for Bloomberg News describes the radicalization of one of them: Upstate New York resident Brandon Fellows, who participated in the siege of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on January 6.
"Fellows didn't know about a planned march that would eventually overtake the U.S. Capitol," Turton explains. "He said he had simply come to see Trump give a speech. But within hours of watching Trump's speech, Fellows had his feet propped up on a table in the office of a U.S. Senator, smoking a joint. He roamed the halls of the Capitol, heckled police officers and posted videos along the way on Snapchat."
Turton describes the 26-year-old Fellows as "a real-world example of a Trump supporter who absorbed false information on social media and heeded the president's call to take action." Fellows, Turton notes, has been an avid consumer of "conservative commentators on YouTube, including Ben Shapiro and Steven Crowder" and has been "watching Newsmax and One America News."
Fellows told Newsweek, "I have no regrets. I didn't hurt anyone, I didn't break anything. I did trespass, though, I guess."
According to Turton, Fellows bought into the debunked conspiracy theory that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump. And on January 6, he "arrived outside of the Ellipse, a park adjacent to the White House, just after 1 a.m. He was one of the first people in line to get into Trump's rally and sat just five rows away from where the president spoke, video shows."
Fellows spoke to Bloomberg News prior to Trump's January 6 speech, saying, "This is the last stand. I feel like I've seen a lot of the election fraud evidence, and I don't understand why nothing is being done."
During the invasion of the Capitol Building, Turton notes, Fellows got into Sen. Jeff Merkley's office. And according to Turton, Fellows' "interactions with police officers" inside the Capitol Building "led him to believe there wouldn't be consequences for going inside." Fellows told Bloomberg News, "Did I think I was going to get in trouble? Uh, no…. Do you think I'm going to go to federal prison? I was told federal prison is not fun."