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Trump Speaks Fondly Of Supporters Surrounding Biden Bus In Texas

President Trump speaks at a rally in Washington, Mich., on Sunday.
Brendan Smialowski
AFP via Getty Images
President Trump speaks at a rally in Washington, Mich., on Sunday.

Updated at 7:45 p.m. ET

President Trump is celebrating a caravan of supporters who followed a Biden-Harris campaign bus in Central Texas.

In a Saturday night tweet, the president retweeted a video showing his supporters surrounding the bus, set to Tech N9ne's "Red Kingdom." "I LOVE TEXAS!" Trump said.

The tweet came after a separate video surfaced showing vehicles with Trump 2020 flags boxing in the blue campaign bus as it traveled Interstate 35 from San Antonio to Austin. In a statement, the Biden campaign said the cars slowed in front of it in an attempt to "stop the bus in the middle of the highway," The Washington Post reported.

The Friday incident rattled the Biden campaign, which canceled at least one event in the state following the episode. Campaign staff called 911, according to the statement, and was given help by law enforcement reaching its destination.

Neither Joe Biden, who had been campaigning in the Midwest, nor his running mate Kamala Harris, campaigning elsewhere in Texas, were on the bus at the time.

Trump discussed the caravan at a Michigan campaign event on Sunday.

"Did you see the way our people, they were, ya know, protecting this bus ... because they're nice," he said. "They had hundreds of cars. Trump! Trump! Trump and the American flag."

Trump favorably contrasted his supporters with Biden supporters, who he said lack spirit and enthusiasm.

"The Trump Train is in hot pursuit," wrote one of the participants of the caravan on Twitter, where they posted several updates of the location of the Biden bus throughout the day. "Just a few of our great patriots out there."

In another video of the incident posted to social media, a truck in the caravan clips a white car.

"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 today instead decided to put our staff, surrogates, supporters, and others in harm's way," the Biden campaign's Texas communications director, Tariq Thowfeek, said in a statement, The Post reported.

Biden addressed the incident and others Sunday in Philadelphia, telling reporters: "We've never had anything like this — at least we've never had a president who thinks it's a good thing."

The Friday incident comes amid a particularly heated contest in Texas, where polls show Biden in striking distance of winning a state that no Democratic nominee has won since 1976. Tensions have been running high in the final days leading up to Election Day, as voters on both sides fear violence from the opposition, and the president's words have raised concern over potential voter intimidation.

Katie Naranjo, chair of the Travis County Democratic Party, said the caravan was a clear attempt by Trump's base to intimidate Biden supporters. "They ran into a person's car, yelling curse words and threats," Naranjo said. "Don't let bullies win, vote."

"We just canceled a joint event in Pflugerville" with the Biden campaign "due to security reasons," Texas House member and former Austin city councilwoman Sheryl Cole said on Twitter. "Unfortunately, Pro-Trump Protestors have escalated well beyond safe limits."

Republicans have pushed back on allegations of voter intimidation.

"It is more fake news and propaganda," Texas GOP Chairman Allen West said in a statement. "Prepare to lose," he said, adding: "stop bothering me."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: October 31, 2020 at 11:00 PM CDT
An earlier version of this story named Sheryl Cole as a member of the Austin city council. Cole is a former member of the council.
Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Schwartz worked as a reporter for Washington, DC, member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Schwartz worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Schwartz was a Washington telecom lawyer. He got his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan ("Go Blue!").