Chris Cuomo had a real patriot on his show on Friday night - the son of one of the violent insurrectionists. And even more moving was that this young man, Jackson Reffitt, turned his dad in after he threatened the lives of the family IF they turned him in! Cuomo started off by quoting the FBI documents, which stated that the guy (Reffitt) told his own son and daughter: "If you turn me in you're a traitor. You know what happens to traitors. Traitors get shot."
Well, his 18-year old son, fearing for his safety and the safety of others, decided to turn his father in to the FBI. Here is how he explained that decision:
CUOMO: Now this wasn't just one conversation. Help people understand the context. Like for how long have you been watching your father change? What seemed to be the influence on him? What seemed to be that change?
REFFITT: I wish I could tell you exactly what but it's been definitely over the past four years that it has grown and just snow balled into what my dad has become now. He's still my father but he's changed a lot.
CUOMO: How so?
REFFITT: He's been more active on his, on the internet and obviously the militia and the far right extremists he's been involved with recently. He's been a lot more, I don't want to say aggressive but more, more scared.
CUOMO: Would he talk to you about it?
REFFITT: No. I actually never even knew he was going to DC until the day he left. I am sure it was because of my political views, but I'm not sure.
CUOMO: When you would talk on your mom with this, or any other family, could any of them explain it? Did they see it the same way you did?
REFFITT: No. I'm kind of on my own in my family right now with my own views about my dad. And I do love him. And I do care for him. But that doesn't ignore everything else he said and done and there is no taking it back and that was enough for me to tell the police.
CUOMO: And he was never like this before?
REFFITT: No. Not even remotely. He would never say the stuff he did to me a couple years ago. Me and my sister. Not once would he even think about something like that.
CUOMO: And what you say "the stuff," when you started talking to him, he gave you ultimatums....he said pick a side or die?
REFFITT: He said choose a side. And if I chose a side, he would say I crossed a line and he would do something he didn't want to do. That's open for interpretation, though. I did feel threatened at those comments but it's still open. My sister can say otherwise, but I myself felt threatened.
CUOMO: Do you think your dad loves you?
REFFITT: I do think what he was doing he thought was right, but in the end what he was doing was not right, for himself or his family or the country even. And I hope he realizes that soon enough. And if I could say to him right now, I would want to say I'm sorry what i've done but I did think it was right as well.
CUOMO: Would you do it again?
REFFITT: Yeah. I'd definitely do it again.
CUOMO: He wound up going to DC. And wound up getting arrested for what he did there. How does that make you feel?
REFFITT: Knowing that it was probably my fault, but I do feel -- I feel disappointed in him for making that decision even at all, to go up there and risk his life and endanger others and put his family in this situation. And it might be my fault for talking to authorities, but I don't want to think that. He's an adult and he made his own decisions.
CUOMO: That last point, my friend, is the only one that matters. I've got a kid your age. I'm a dad. Kids don't take responsibility for what their parents do. You didn't make him to go to DC, you didn't make him choose to do what he did that got him arrested. He didn't get arrested because you were worried about him. He got arrested because of what he did and what he chose to do. What you did was very, very hard. A lot of people wouldn't do it, even with the basis that you acted on because they'd be afraid of offending family, hurting feelings, especially the man who raised you. And for you to put what's right on top of that is no small task. This not your fault. I'm talking to because i'm impressed by what you did and, more importantly, why you did it. Okay?
It is clear that this young man did the right thing, but his family may not be supporting him. He chose to put his country first and stood up and did the right thing even though it hurt him. That takes courage. Hopefully his family will one day see that, and hopefully his dad will face prosecution for his crimes - but also get help (ie, deprogramming). It is clear from this interview that his dad was sucked into the Trump conspiracy cult and lost his way over the last 4 years. Heartbreaking, but not a new story.