Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist, addressed a packed house on Saturday at the 2017 Brian Terry Foundation Courage Awards & Benefit Dinner. Bannon was awarded the Brian Terry Courage in Journalism and Reporting Award.
The awards banquet was hosted by FOX News Channel correspondent William La Jeunesse.
Prior to taking the stage, Bannon was briefly accosted by Brian Sanders. Sanders first gained national attention when he was provoking attendees at a Trump campaign rally at the Tucson Convention Center. Tony Pettway, 32, an airman at Tucson’s Davis-Monthan Air Force Base clocked Sanders at the time. Pettway was arrested after the incident on suspicion of misdemeanor assault with injury.
Security responded quickly on Saturday, and Sanders, who was granted press access to the event, was escorted out of the room. In both instances, Sanders donned an American flag shirt as a disguise of sorts.
While security was very tight, with everyone’s name being checked off a list prior to being allowed on the hotel property, Sanders was granted access by claiming that he was a writer for the website American Babylon.
Before the event started, approximately 100 protesters lined the road up to the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa. While some had hoped for a raucous turnout that might lead to arrests, they were generally disappointed by the Tucson Police, who were given stand down orders.
Tucsonans Lesa Antone, and Jen Harrison and their companions reported that Antone had been attacked by a masked assailant, who came from behind a banner wearing a mask. According to the women, the assailant ran across the street and attempted to spray Antone with an unknown substance. Antone kept him at bay with flag pole she was holding.
According to the women, after the attempted attack, the assailant “ran back across the street – disappeared behind a banner, removed the mask, changed the color of the bandanna he was wearing and blended in with the others in the crowd.” When the women reported the incident to the Tucson Police officers on the scene, the women were told the police were ordered to stand down and not be goaded into action.
Protesters expressed disappointment that Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias “talked big,” but was a no-show on Saturday. Although the clownish Elias was nowhere to been seen, protesters dressed as clowns chanted Nazi slogans while making the “Sieg Heil” gesture as they passed through the throng of Trump supporters.
Because of threatened protests, the hotel charged the Foundation an additional $3,000 for security. The Foundation called the decision “unfortunate because that money that could have been used for the Foundation’s charitable efforts.” Those efforts include supporting the families of fallen U.S. Border Patrol agents. The Foundation has also established educational scholarships for men and women wishing pursue careers in the field of criminal justice. Since 2014 scholarships have been awarded to 40 students.
The protesters did not dampen spirits. U. S. Senate candidate, Dr. Kelli Ward introduced Bannon, as the “most interesting man in the world.” Ward presented Bannon with the Brian Terry Courage in Journalism and Reporting Award. She credited Bannon for exiting the Paris Climate Accord, negotiating favorable trade deals, investigating China for IP theft, and “draining the swamp.”
Bannon called on attendees to stand strong. “President Trump needs your backing now more than ever,” said Bannon, “this nullification project that is underway, this nullification project that is trying to take away the 2016 victory from the American people and Trump supporters. It has to be stopped.”
Bannon received the Brian Terry Courage in Journalism and Reporting Award for Breitbart’s “tireless reporting on efforts to hold the Obama administration accountable for the failed gun running operation known as Fast and Furious, a botched effort that cost Agent Terry his life.
Agent Brian Terry, a member of the U.S. Border Patrol’s elite tactical unit known as BORTAC, was on duty when he was shot to death while tracking members of a suspected drug cartel rip crew in 2010 near Rio Rico, AZ. Two semi-automatic assault rifles similar to AK-47’s were found at the murder scene and ultimately traced to the botched gun trafficking investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious. The ATF allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, in order to track the guns to Mexican drug cartels, but they lost track of the weapons.