Mast Talks Capitol Police After His SOTU Guest, Gold Star Father Arrested for 'Demonstrating'

Mast Talks Capitol Police After His SOTU Guest, Gold Star Father Arrested for 'Demonstrating'

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
March 12, 2024

Before the State of the Union address from President Joe Biden (D) on March 7, Representative Brian Mast (R-FL) announced that his guest for the event would be Steve Nikoui, the Gold Star father of Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui.

Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui was one of the 13 U.S. servicemembers who died amidst the withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. Alongside losing his son in the Marines, Mr. Nikoui lost another family member to suicide just weeks before the one-year anniversary of LCpl. Nikoui’s death.

During the President’s remarks, Mr. Nikoui stood up and yelled out “Do you remember Abbey Gate?” as well as his son’s (Kareem) name. He was then detained, arrested, and interrogated by Capitol Police. Rep. Mast joined him during the interrogation process.

Since then, Rep. Mast has been interviewed by Glenn Beck to discuss the harsh reality that Mr. Nikoui could face time behind bars for this incident.

“Steve was officially charged. I was there with him at the Capitol Police station just off the Senate side of the Capitol until about 1:15 in the morning. He was charged with demonstrating. This man was charged with demonstrating at the seat of government, the U.S. House of Representatives, where we are supposed to be preserving and protecting the First Amendment, where you should be coming to redress grievances with your government,” said Rep. Mast. “He was charged as somebody who lost two children, one serving this country, for standing up and demonstrating in the U.S. Capitol. That should never happen in our Capitol.”

Despite the charge afforded to Mr. Nikoui being a misdemeanor, Beck reminded his audience that people are going to prison for a long time because of misdemeanor offenses.

Rep. Mast agreed, saying the threat Mr. Nikoui faces is “not a joke” and real.

“It’s not a joke. I was on the phone with the speaker as I was there – Speaker Johnson. Speaker Johnson stepped up immediately, said we’re going to make sure that anything that is associated with this that our office takes care of 100%,” said Mast.

The Florida congressman spoke about other demonstrators within the House Chamber and outside the House Chamber, including pro-Palestinian protestors who blocked the President’s route to the Capitol complex.

He said, “Let’s think of all the people that aren’t charged with [demonstrating], all the Palestinian protestors that stopped the President from getting to the Capitol, not charged. Anybody else on the floor of the House, not charged with demonstrating. This to me was amazing … because I said ‘Where’s everybody else? How come he’s the only one here in this lock-up?’ And they said, ‘Well, there’s a different standard for Members.’ That should never take place in the U.S. Capitol.”

Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) appeared on “Hannity” and stated that there is a letter in the works to clear Mr. Nikoui of wrongdoing based on the precedent of others “demonstrating” during the State of the Union.

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Jackson Bakich

Jackson Bakich

Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the sunshine state, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and the co-host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.

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