Former Trump campaign staffer Matt Braynard is planning a September 18th rally across from the Capitol, called “Justice for J6,” to protest the “grave violation of civil rights” of the January 6th insurrectionists.
Although the whole thing has the distinct smell of a grift worthy of his former boss, Braynard has been, as BuzzFeed News put it, “Forrest Gumping his way” through MAGA world despite having been abruptly fired from the 2016 Trump campaign after only five months.
In December, he testified alongside Rudy Giuliani alleging mass voter fraud in Arizona. A week later, he told legislators in Georgia that he’d found 21,000 illegal ballots in the state (before his data was methodically torn apart by a Democratic legislator who tracked down several of the voters herself). He was a paid expert witness in three cases challenging the election results, none of which went anywhere. Long after Trump left office, he has continued releasing reports of “illegal ballots” in Wisconsin and Georgia and is working on one for Arizona, all states where pro-Trump Republicans have pushed for so-called audits of the election.
Braynard does not seem to be what you might call a “top drawer” political strategist. The 2020 Trump campaign wanted nothing to do with him. But MAGA world had a different take after he started alleging voter fraud in the 2020 election. BuzzFeed reports Braynard raised $675,000 for voter fraud research and that he claims to have also raised enough to hire 10-11 full-time staff and pay himself a $60,000 salary. He is also a regular guest on OAN and Steve Bannon’s show. “You talk about finding election fraud and the money flows in,” he told BuzzFeed.
It remains to be seen what kind of crowd Braynard can actually turn out and he has yet to get a permit. BuzzFeed notes he has been hosting smaller protests at the DOJ and DC jail on behalf of the “peaceful” January 6th insurrectionists.
In his YouTube video promoting the rally, Braynard hints that maybe the January 6th insurrectionists weren’t so peaceful after all. He tells viewers he’ll need their help to ensure a safe rally and that the “number one request is to be respectful and kind to all law enforcement officers” and to comply with any of their requests.
Braynard said he plans to “present evidence that’s not been allowed to be presented” in any Capitol Hill hearings. He also told viewers that the rally is not about the election or its legitimacy and not to bring any signs or flags or clothing about that. Braynard also promises “people that you're going to be very excited to hear” will be part of the rally. He says he will name them once they are “locked in.”
The video also requests donations.
Assuming Braynard gets a permit, the turnout probably depends on how much promotion the event gets in right-wing media and maybe from the Trump family.