AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) — After documented reports of pro-Donald Trump supporters following, surrounding and allegedly threatening a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris campaign bus in Texas, Saturday night the President appeared to embrace the actions of his supporters.
Trump tweeted a video of the caravan surrounding the Biden bus with the caption, “I LOVE TEXAS!”
I LOVE TEXAS! pic.twitter.com/EP7P3AvE8L
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2020
Biden spokesman Bill Russo responded to Trump’s tweet by pointing to reports that Trump’s campaign was not prepared to shuttle attendees who had been bused to a rally at a Pennsylvania airport back afterward, leading to a chaotic situation with his supporters walking across roads to cars parked miles away.
“For the second time in a week your campaign has left your supporters stranded in the cold with no transportation at one of your superspreader rallies,” Russo said on Twitter. “Maybe you should spend more time worried about those buses than ours.”
For the second time in a week your campaign has left your supporters stranded in the cold with no transportation at one of your superspreader rallies.
Maybe you should spend more time worried about those buses than ours. https://t.co/qkecpgJsWm
— Bill Russo (@BillR) November 1, 2020
The latest episode of harassment comes at a time when Texas has seen record-breaking early vote totals — already exceeding total votes cast there in the 2016 election.
The caravan President Trump seemed to praised caused several Texas events supporting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his vice presidential running mate, Kamala Harris, to be canceled because of security concerns.
The threats and alleged criminal activity center around a group of Trump supporters who reportedly followed the Biden-Harris campaign bus as it made stops across the state.
The Biden-Harris bus made a brief appearance in downtown Austin on Friday. Texas Democrats were scheduled to host speakers including Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.) and U.S. House candidate and former Texas state lawmaker Wendy Davis, but the group told CBS Austin they canceled the event so as to not to take attention from Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris — who made a stop in Fort Worth and two other Texas cities on Friday.
Pictures and videos posted on social media showed a long line of vehicles with pro-Trump signage trailing, and at times surrounding, the Biden-Harris bus as it traveled from San Antonio to Austin.
Rep. Rafael Anchía, a Dallas Democrat who chairs the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, tweeted that the Trump supporters were “armed” and “ramming volunteer vehicles & blocking traffic for 40 mins.”
Earlier in the week in Missouri City, Texas — a Houston suburb — Trump supporters showed up driving a hearse that had a sign on it that read, “vote like your life depends on it.” That same vehicle is believed to have been a part of Friday’s convoy.
Referencing the number of American deaths from COVID-19, Anchía commented about signs on the Trump supporter vehicle, “At least the Trump hearse is appropriate given the 200K+ Americans who have died due to his incompetence.”
Armed Trump trolls harassing Biden Bus on I-35, ramming volunteer vehicles & blocking traffic for 40 mins. Eric Trump took to FB to incite this violence.
At least the Trump hearse is appropriate given the 200K+ Americans who have died due to his incompetence. #VoteHimOut pic.twitter.com/vUyhhKyceo
— Rafael Anchía (@RafaelAnchia) October 30, 2020
A representative with the Travis County Democrats said it’s the same dozen or so people looking to disrupt events and they’ve been doing it all across the country.
Representative Sheryl Cole (D-Austin) tweeted the Biden-Harris bus was supposed to make a stop in Pflugerville, Texas with the Austin Young Democrats but she wrote they, too, had to cancel due to security reasons. Pro-Trump protesters have “escalated well beyond safe limits,” she said.
This is a 1st for me – but we just cancelled a joint event in Pflugerville w/ @JoeBiden campaign, @AustinYoungDems, & more, due to security reasons. Unfortunately, Pro-Trump Protestors have escalated well beyond safe limits. Sorry to all who looked forward to this fun event. https://t.co/tSq4moqro0
— Sheryl Cole (@SherylCole1) October 30, 2020
Travis County Democratic Party chair Katie Naranjo tweeted that Trump supporters followed the bus in an attempt to intimidate Biden voters. “They ran into a person’s car, yelling curse words and threats. Don’t let bullies win, vote.”
Today, @realDonaldTrump supporters followed the Biden bus throughout central Texas to intimidate Biden supporters. They ran into a person’s car, yelling curse words and threats. Don’t let bullies win, vote. pic.twitter.com/CIyEWwbvqU
— Katie Naranjo (@KatieNaranjo) October 30, 2020
According to a source familiar with the incident, the vehicles were a “Trump Train group.” The groups are known in parts of the state and organize events that involve their cars with flags and Trump paraphernalia and drive around to show support for President Donald Trump.
At one point the group slowed the tour bus to roughly 20 mph on Interstate 35, the campaign official said. The vehicles slowed down to try to stop the bus in the middle of the highway. The source said there were nearly 100 vehicles around the campaign bus. Biden staffers were rattled by the event, the source said, though no one was hurt.
Neither Biden nor his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, were on the bus.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The CNN Wire & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report.)
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