Biden Campaign Says Trump Supporters Tried to Run Their Bus Off the Road, Causing Staff to Call 911
President Donald Trump spoke approvingly of a caravan of his supporters who were seen surrounding a Joe Biden campaign bus on a Texas highway on Friday in an incident that Biden staffers said caused them to call 911.
The former vice president and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, were not on the bus at the time of the altercation, which underscored the heightened tensions and fears of escalation ahead of Tuesday's election.
Trump, 74, on Saturday retweeted a video of his supporters driving around a Biden bus that looked similar to the Interstate 35 incident from the day before.
He wrote “I LOVE TEXAS!” and claimed at a campaign rally that the caravan was “protecting” the Biden bus. The Biden campaign said staff for the Democratic nominee felt threatened enough to call 911 and alert "local law enforcement of the situation."
Authorities then "responded to the campaign’s calls and assisted the bus in reaching its destination," the campaign said.
The Biden campaign said that the Trump supporters were attempting to “stop the bus in the middle of the highway.”
Video taken by other drivers and posted to social media shows the Trump caravan surrounding the bus and one moment when a pickup truck displaying Trump flags briefly makes contact with an SUV next to the bus. (However, local police reportedly said that it is possible the SUV was considered "at fault," not the truck.)
The Biden campaign did not say whether the vehicle that was hit was driven by campaign staffer.
In a statement, a Biden spokesman said that "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 instead decided to put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm’s way."
"Our supporters will continue to organize their communities for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Democrats up and down the ballot, and to the Texans who disrupted our events [Friday]: We’ll see you on November 3rd,” the spokesman said.
The campaign said that an event later Friday was canceled "out of an abundance of caution."
The FBI in San Antonio said it was investigating the incident, according to a department statement to CNN.
“In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong,” the president tweeted on Sunday.
“We love what they did,” Sen. Marco Rubio said at a Trump rally on Sunday night in Florida, according to CBS Miami.
Trump caravans — in the vein of similar boat parades — have become a staple of some of the president’s supporters in the final months of the campaign as he seeks to project overwhelming enthusiasm about his re-election chances amid voter disapproval about his coronavirus response and sagging polling numbers.
Trump’s tweet from this weekend, of footage similar to Friday's incident, was overlaid with audio of Tech N9ne’s “Red Kingdom,” which was recorded for the Kansas City Chiefs, not the Trump campaign.
Biden addressed the Texas incident at a rally on Sunday, according to NBC News, saying the Trump supporters were trying to run his campaign’s bus “off the road.”
"Folks, that's not who we are," Biden, 77, said. "We are so much better than this. We're so much better than this. It's not who we are."
Separately, caravans supporting the president’s re-election briefly stopped traffic on two major highways in New York and New Jersey this weekend, The New York Times reported.
New York state Sen. David Carlucci called both incidents over the weekend “unacceptable and dangerous.”
New Jersey state police told PEOPLE on Monday morning that the incident was “still being looked into."
Last week, The Washington Post reported that 11 people were arrested in Manhattan when Trump supporters clashed with anti-Trump supporters in Times Square.