• “FBI Lovebirds,” a play based on the texts between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, opened CPAC on Thursday.
  • During the 2016 election, Strzok and Page were having an affair, and exchanged texts critical about then-candidate Donald Trump.
  • Trump and his allies have cited the texts as evidence of a “Deep State” conspiracy to keep him from winning the election, or maintaining the presidency after he won.
  • Dean Cain, who played Superman in the 1990s ABC show “Lois and Clark,” played Stzok, while Kristy Swanson, best known for playing the titular character in the original 1992 “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” film, performed as Page.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Conservative Political Action Conference’s Thursday afternoon session kicked off with a staging of “FBI Lovebirds,” a play based on the texts between former FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page that have become something of an obsession to President Donald Trump and his supporters. 

The controversial messages came during the 2016 election, which Trump and his allies have cited as evidence of a “Deep State” conspiracy to keep him from winning the election, or maintaining the presidency after he won.

Strzok and Page were having an affair and exchanged messages that were critical of Trump.

Among the most controversial of the texts was Strzok’s response to Page’s query asking if Trump could be elected. To which Strzok replied, “No, we’ll stop it.”

Strzok later said the remark was “off the cuff” in a moment of anger at Trump over his insulting of deceased Army Capt. Humayun Khan’s bereaved parents. Khan’s father gave a stirring speech at that year’s Democratic National Convention, condemning Trump’s proposed “Muslim ban.” 

During the texts with Strzok, Page also said, Hillary Clinton “just has to win now,” and “This man cannot be president.”

The texts were made public in December 2017, and resulted in both Strzok and Page being removed from their posts as part of then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Strzok was eventually fired by the FBI, while Page left her position in May 2018. 

Page has since sued the FBI and the Justice Department for what she says was an invasion of her privacy. 

At a rally in October 2019, Trump mocked Page by performing a fake orgasm from the stage at a rally in Minneapolis. 

Kristy Swanson, Bruce Nozick, Dean Cain in “Lovebirds” at CPAC, February, 27, 2020.

Anthony Fisher/Insider


Strzok and Page were played by actors who made their names in the early 90s as “Superman” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

Dean Cain, who played Superman in the 1990s ABC show “Lois and Clark,” played Stzok, while Kristy Swanson, best known for playing the titular character in the original 1992 “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” film, performed as Page. Two other actors, Bruce Nozick and Tommy Gissendanner, played composites of members of Congress who later questioned Strzok in a July 2018 congressional hearing. 

Both Cain and Swanson hammed it up, playing up the “smug DC elite” factor, as well as the inherent absurdity of two grown adults in national law enforcement positions reading their candid text messages allowed. 

The actors read from scripts with long pauses between each others “texts.” The CPAC crowd seemed to enjoy the novelty of the actors announcing their emoticons (“smiley face,” “wink”), acronyms (OMG) and multiple exclamation marks as part of the dialogue. 

But after some smatterings of applause and laughter, the energy in the room flagged, perhaps because the audience expected more steamy content and explicit plotting against Trump than the texts actually provide.

One line in particular that received a lot of applause was Strzok’s text reading: “Just went into a Southern Virginia Wal-Mart, I can smell the Trump support.” 

During a Q and A session following the performance, Cain was asked how he could inhabit Strzok so well. Cain, like Swanson a vocal conservative, replied, “Well, I’ve played Scott Peterson.” 

The actors and creators also revealed they had visited with President Trump at the White House today, with Cain adding that he thought Trump had performed better than they had — an apparent reference to the fake orgasm the president used to mock Page last year. 

Cain added that he thinks Strzok and Page thought they were doing something that was “heroic” and “in the best interests of the country,” though Cain added it was “unconstitutional.” Swanson told an audience member that unlike Strzok and Page, the heroes that she and Cain previously played “weren’t arrogant.” 

Writer and director Phelim McAleer, who produced the documentaries’ “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” and “FrackNation,” wrote and directed the play.

He told Insider after the performance, “It’s a tragic love story was an international political drama, not just on top of it but running through it as well. And you’ve got Donald Trump.” McAleer says he’s looking to raise funds to stage the play for a few weeks in New York. 

More:

CPAC
CPAC 2020
peter strzok
lisa page

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