Joe Biden’s presidential campaign canceled an event in Austin, Texas on Friday after a pro-Trump contingent harassed.
Texas became a battleground state in Tuesday’s presidential election, with polls showing the uniquely Republican stronghold now only marginally favors President Donald Trump. The Biden campaign has scheduled an event in the state for Friday, in an attempt to garner last-minute support. But when the Biden campaign bus made its way to Austin, it was greeted by a blockade of pro-Trump protesters, leading to what a representative from Texas House described as an escalation “well beyond safety limits ”.
The cancellation comes amid national anxiety over voter intimidation, a tactic the Trump campaign has implicitly endorsed.
Historian Eric Cervini was driving to help stop the Biden campaign when he filmed a line of pickup trucks along the highway, many of which were sporting Trump flags. The drivers “waited to ambush the Biden / Harris country bus as it traveled from San Antonio to Austin,” Cervini tweeted.
“These Trump supporters, many of whom were armed, surrounded the bus on the highway and tried to drive it off the road,” he said. “They outnumbered the police 50-1, and ended up hitting a staff member’s car.
Footage from a CBS subsidiary in Austin shows Trump supporters with signs and cigarette ends surrounding the bus as it pulled up, with one person shouting that Biden was a Communist.
Representative Sheryl Cole, a Democrat representing the neighboring town of Pflugerville at the Texas home, announced that a Biden event in her town had been called off due to the harassment.
“This is a first for me – but we just canceled a joint event in Pflugerville with the @JoeBiden campaign,
@AustinYoungDems, etc., for security reasons, ” she tweeted. “Sadly, pro-Trump protesters have escalated well beyond the safe limits. Sorry to anyone who was looking forward to this fun event. “
The Biden campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
The Trump campaign – and often Trump himself – has encouraged in-person conflict around the polls. Trump used the first presidential debate to urge supporters to act as “scrutineers,” a call that raised concerns about voter intimidation. His son, Donald Trump Jr., made an explicit appeal regarding the Biden campaign’s outreach efforts in Texas.
In a video ahead of a Friday event by Biden’s running mate Senator Kamala Harris, Trump Jr. encouraged his father’s supporters to show up at Harris’s event.
“Hi Laredo, Don Jr. here,” he said. “I heard you had an impressive turnout for the Trump train. It would be great if you all got together, walked over to McAllen and greeted Kamala Harris on the Trump train. Go out, have fun, enjoy it. Don’t forget to vote and bring all your friends. Let’s show them how strong Texas still is as a Trump country. Get out, guys.
Trump supporters have already been accused of intimidation in this election. In Beverly Hills, Calif., This week, an Australian television personality filmed participants in a pro-Trump rally shouting at and threatening her in her car. A man waving a Trump flag on her appeared to photograph her and note her license plate number.
“We have you now,” the man cried. “You’re going to vote for Trump whether you like it or not, you have no choice.”
When Biden spoke at an event in Minnesota on Friday, the same day his campaign ambushed in Austin, Trump supporters in a trailer of vehicles reportedly surrounded the venue, honking and singing.
During early voting in the swing state of Virginia late last month, a caravan of Trump supporters traveled to Democrat-leaning Fairfax County and circled people in an early voting line, shouting at them over loudspeakers.
“We had a few observers there who had to escort voters because we saw people walking up to the side of the parking lot and seeing this giant group of Trumpers screaming and screaming,” said the executive director of the Fairfax County Democratic . The committee told the Daily Beast at the time.
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