Area law enforcement and local Trump Train organizers didn't have much to say about the surrounding of a Biden-Harris presidential campaign bus traveling through New Braunfels on Interstate 35 on Friday, but President Donald Trump did.
The Democratic nominees for president and vice president, former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris, were not on the bus, which videos showed was surrounded by pickup trucks adorned with “Trump 2020” flags as it traveled from San Antonio toward Austin.
National news outlets reported no one was injured during the event, in which the New Braunfels, San Marcos and Kyle police departments found nothing out of the ordinary, but led to cancellations of three Democratic campaign events later Friday.
Saturday night, President Trump tweeted in support of one of the videos taken of his supporters following Biden’s bus through New Braunfels, adding “I LOVE TEXAS!”
On Sunday, after the Austin American-Statesman confirmed earlier reports by CNN, Texas Tribune and the San Marcos Daily Record that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating, Trump tweeted, “These patriots did nothing wrong. Instead the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat-run cities and hurting our people.”
The Statesman reported New Braunfels Trump Train organizers Randi Ceh and husband Steve Ceh posted videos of Friday’s encounter that included commentary accusing the Biden bus and a car driven by a Biden campaign staffer of swerving out of their highway lanes.
The local Trump Train Facebook page, with more than 4,000 followers and closed to non-members, had a lot of chatter throughout Sunday. Meanwhile, Herald-Zeitung attempts to reach both Cehs and a third co-organizer Cody Ceh, went unreturned Sunday.
It was yet another contentious story line in the 2020 presidential campaign in which nearly 9.5 million Texas voters and 80,000 in Comal County have voted ahead of Tuesday’s general election — where early voting has already surpassed total votes in the 2016 election.
Recent polls in the state indicate the race between Trump and Biden is tight, with some calling it a toss-up.
The Tribune reported the Biden bus was traveling from San Antonio to Austin as part of a push to urge Biden supporters to cast their ballots on the state’s last day of early voting. It said a source familiar with the incident said vehicles from the Trump Train began yelling profanities and obscenities before attempting to blockade the entire Biden entourage.
The Tribune source said nearly 100 vehicles had surrounded the bus, which at one point slowed to 20 mph. Campaign staffers and others — which sources said included former state Sen. Wendy Davis, challenging incumbent GOP District 21 U.S. Rep. Chip Roy — were among several who called 9-1-1 for help.
One Tribune source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said New Braunfels police responded to requests for assistance and provided an escort throughout their jurisdiction. During that time, the person said, the group of Trump supporters fell back behind the police.
In a statement, New Braunfels City Manager Robert Camareno said the police department received calls, “of the Trump Train following the Biden/Harris campaign bus ... NBPD responded and did not observe any traffic violations.”
The bus continued into Hays County. The San Marcos Daily Record reported the Biden bus had scheduled a campaign stop in San Marcos, which was canceled after the bus traveling through the city was “surrounded by trucks waving Trump flags.”
The paper said viral videos indicated a white SUV following the bus collided with a black truck near the interstate’s Exit 210, but added SMPD was unable to determine which was at fault and that it required additional investigation.
In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong. Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people! https://t.co/of6Lna3HMU— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2020
“Calls to the driver of the white SUV have gone unanswered and SMPD has not been contacted by the driver of the black truck,” the department said in a statement. “Since SMPD has not spoken to either driver at this time, additional investigation will be required to fully ascertain who was at fault.”
In another statement, the city of Kyle said police received a report that two or more vehicles may have made contact there, but responding officers said “no vehicles stopped to share information with law enforcement,” and that “it appears that the vehicle contact actually occurred within San Marcos, Texas, prior to the campaign bus arriving in Kyle.”
The Tribune quoted Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler, a Republican, as saying 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,” Cutler said.