Supporters of President Donald Trump surrounded a Joe Biden campaign bus as it passed through Texas on Friday, causing the campaign to cancel some stops for security reasons as Biden’s Vice Senator Kamala Harris hosted three events at other locations in the state.
Democrat Sheryl Cole, a member of the Texas House of Representatives representing District 46, tweeted: “This is a 1st for me – but we just cancelled a joint event in Pflugerville w/ @JoeBiden campaign, @AustinYoungDems, & more, for security reasons. Unfortunately the Pro Trump protests have escalated far beyond the safe borders”.
Social media users posted photos and videos of Trump-equipped vehicles that surrounded a Biden bus as it drove from San Antonio to Austin on I-35. The Biden events were part of the “Battle for the Soul of the Nation” bus tour and invited prominent Democrats across Texas to show their support for the Biden Harris ticket.
Erin Zwiener, a re-elected Democrat in Texas’ Parliamentary District 45, and her supporters waited for the bus to arrive in San Marcos, the local newspaper My Canyon Lake reported. She confirmed the cancellation of the campaign event in a Facebook video.
“We are a little disappointed right now. Because of the harassment by the Trump Train, the bus couldn’t stop safely,” she said, adding that Texas voters would not be intimidated by this kind of behavior.
Another person filmed a video of Trump supporters raving about the Biden bus and posted it on YouTube on Saturday, noting that it was “the funniest thing I’ve ever seen” and that the cars “literally escorted Biden out of town.
The bus made a brief appearance in downtown Austin, where Democratic politicians were scheduled to hold a “closing rally” at 5:30 pm on Saturday, according to local radio station KEYE. But reporter Jordan Bontke posted a video on Twitter, capturing Trump supporters shouting at the bus, accusing Biden of being a “Chinese Communist” and rushing into their cars to follow the bus.
As the Biden bus rolled down 11th Street towards I-35, the Trump followers got into their trucks to follow the bus. @cbsaustin pic.twitter.com/idnbDqFU3L
– Jordan Bontke (@JBontkeCBS) October 30, 2020
Tariq Thowfeek, the communications director of the Biden campaign in Texas, told The Daily Beast that holding the event in Austin put Biden’s staff and supporters in danger.
“Instead of engaging in a productive conversation about the drastically different visions that Joe Biden and Donald Trump have for our country, the Trump supporters in Texas today instead decided to put our employees, deputies, supporters and others at risk,” Thowfeek said.
While expressing confidence that Biden’s supporters would continue to organize their communities to vote blue, Thowfeek had a message for the Texans who disrupted Friday’s campaign events: “We’ll see you on November 3,” he told the Daily Beast.
This is not the first time Trump’s supporters have harassed the Biden campaign bus. A Pro Trump hearse followed the bus in Houston on Thursday and laid out a coffin with a mannequin in it, as Trump supporters Kambree Koa tweeted.
The Pro Trump hearse laid out a coffin next to the Biden bus in Houston. pic.twitter.com/Co0DI3klv9
– Kambree (@KamVTV) October 29, 2020
Some people interpreted the mannequin, which had dark brown hair, as a representation of Harris. “The fact that they had a mannequin with black or dyed hair, and we have a certain woman in that colored breed with that hair texture, is very offensive and very upsetting,” Eugene Howard, NAACP president of Brazoria County, told local radio station KRIV.
Howard told the station that Joe Walz, who organized the Trump supporters’ participation in the Houston event, later apologized for the coffin. “They hinted that the mannequin or whatever was in the coffin may have been designed to look like the vice presidential candidate, and if that is the case, I strongly condemn it, and it really disgusts me,” Walz said.
Tekk.tv contacted the Biden campaign to comment, but did not listen back in time for release.
Tensions between the two campaigns in Lone Star State escalated when Harris held events in three cities in Texas on Friday, calling on people to go to the polls just four days before the November 3 election.
National polls show that Texas, once a faithfully red state, has a chance to turn the Democrats around this year. The state’s early voting has already surpassed the total number of votes cast in 2016, suggesting increased enthusiasm among residents.
In a new public policy survey conducted on October 28 and 29, Biden was two percentage points ahead of Trump, 50 to 48 percent.