After a year that’s seen white men increasingly using their vehicles to run into people whose politics they don’t agree with, I guess it shouldn’t surprise us that similar vehicular-violence is revving up in the little time left before Election Day.
But the caravan of Trump supporters who surrounded Biden-Harris campaign vehicles on a highway in Texas on Friday, nearly running a campaign bus off the road and striking at least one car driven by a Democratic volunteer, show that we won’t have to wait until November 3 to see escalation of the madness already unfolding in this country.
According to a report from the Texas Tribune, the highway intimidation incident was organized by still-unidentified Trumpers seeking to “troll” Biden-Harris campaigners on a bus driving to San Antonio on the I-35.
Videos posted on social media show a crowd of people driving four-wheel trucks with Trump flags and blocking in a big Biden bus on the highway, which one of the drivers actually deliberately hit:
Chair of the Travis County Democratic Party, Katie Navaro, tweeted that a campaign volunteer’s car was also struck by Trump supporters following them “throughout central Texas” to intimidate them.
Intimidation seemed to be exactly the purpose of Trumpers’ actions, which ended up being successful in leading the Biden campaign to cancel the planned events it had in Texas that weekend.
“Rather than engage in productive conversation about the drastically different visions that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have for our country, Trump supporters in Texas [Friday] instead decided to put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm’s way,” Tariq Thowfeek, Texas communications director for the Biden campaign, told the Texas Tribune.
Predictably, the Republican Party and the President himself responded to the dangerous actions of their followers with celebration. Naomi Narvaiz, a Texas GOP official, tweeted of the highway commotion, “We sent the Joe Biden Kamala Harris bus out of Hays! Your kind aren’t welcome here!”
Despite the video evidence of the incident (and his party member’s crowing about it), Texas GOP chairman Allen West responded to the Texas Tribune’s questions by saying, “It is more fake news and propaganda. Prepare to lose ... stop bothering me.”
And Trump, never one to try and quell violence when it is to his benefit, reshared a video of his supporters swarming the Biden-Harris bus on the highway with a declarative, “I Love Texas!”
At a rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, the President continued to incite the delusions of his dangerous supporters by classing the Biden bus as crazy and celebrating that the situation—which very well could have been fatal—is now “trending.”
Where was the police in all of this, you ask? Mostly keeping a hands-off approach during the fracas and blaming the Biden campaign for not knowing they would have to play fast and furious with Trump supporters.
From the Texas Tribune:
“From videos of the event that have now surfaced on social media, it appears that the vehicle contact actually occurred within San Marcos, Texas, prior to the campaign bus arriving in Kyle,” a statement from the Kyle Police Department read. “All involved parties are being referred to the San Marcos Police Department should they desire to file any type of report with law enforcement.
A San Marcos spokesperson said police received a call from the Biden campaign bus requesting a police escort but weren’t able to catch up to the bus before it exited the city due to traffic. The police have not spoken to either driver about the collision and said they weren’t able to determine who was at fault.
According to Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler, the Biden campaign did not notify his office that it would be passing through the county to allow law enforcement to prepare for any possible confrontations. “The planning of this was questionable,” said Cutler, a Republican running for reelection on Tuesday.
However, it seems the trending nature of the highway drama has now brought it to the attention of the FBI, who told the Texas Tribune on Saturday that they will be “looking into it.”
Whatever that means.