Ray Epps, a former Marine and Trump supporter, traveled to DC with his son to be part of the Jan. 6 rally.
Instead he has become the target of wild conspiracy theories begun by the dregs of the online MAGA world, and then amplified by Tucker Carlson and Trump himself. He was even the subject of his own hashtag.
Now his life is ruined and he questions how he was ever so stupid as to get involved with the movement that destroyed the lives of him and his wife.
This is a crazy story in the New York Times by Alan Feuer:
Mr. Epps, 61, was not just a bystander on Jan. 6. He traveled to Washington to back Mr. Trump, was taped urging people to go to the Capitol and was there himself on the day of the assault. But through a series of events that twisted his role, he became the face of this conspiracy theory about the F.B.I. as it spread from the fringes to the mainstream.
Obscure right-wing media outlets, like Revolver News, used selectively edited videos and unfounded leaps of logic to paint him as a secret federal asset in charge of a “breach team” responsible for setting off the riot at the Capitol.
The stories about Mr. Epps were quickly seized on by the Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who gave them a wider audience. They were also echoed by Republican members of Congress like Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.
Eventually, Mr. Trump joined the fray, mentioning Mr. Epps at one of his political rallies and lending fuel to a viral Twitter hashtag, #WhoIsRayEpps.
You have to read this story to get the full effect.
Ray Epps is one of the only MAGA figures for whom I’ve been able to work up some sympathy.