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Three Democratic campaign events were canceled in Texas over "safety concerns" after dozens of Trump supporters surrounded a Biden–Harris campaign bus on a highway on Friday, leading to a minor collision, a Democratic official told BuzzFeed News.
The incident prompted the FBI to investigate on Saturday, the Texas Tribune first reported.
"FBI San Antonio is aware of the incident and investigating. No further information is available at this time," the agency told BuzzFeed News. The San Marcos police department is also investigating the incident with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Videos posted on social media — by members of the so-called Trump train and Democratic officials and volunteers — showed dozens of vehicles waving Trump flags pursuing the Biden bus as it made its way from San Antonio to Austin to drum up enthusiasm at polling stations on Friday. Neither Joe Biden nor Kamala Harris was on the bus.
Trump supporters using the hashtag #FollowTheBus and #TrumpTrain tweeted several videos and photos showing more than 50 vehicles waiting to follow the Biden bus on the highway.
Other videos posted by the Trump supporter showed multiple vehicles "in hot pursuit" of the Biden campaign bus on the highway.
Democratic lawmakers described the incident as "aggressive, abusive conduct" and said it was part of Trump's continued efforts to intimidate and harass voters.
"This aggressive, abusive conduct by his supporters comes from Trump continuing to incite acts of intimidation and violence," Rep. Lloyd Doggett said in a tweet, adding that it was "another more outrageous form of voter suppression."
In fact, Trump — who has called on his supporters to "watch the polls," raising concerns of voter intimidation — also endorsed the so-called Trump train, tweeting "I love Texas," with a video of his supporters following the Biden bus. He later added, "these patriots did nothing wrong."
Biden addressed the incident — and Trump's encouragement of the harassment — during a short speech with campaign volunteers in Philadelphia on Sunday.
“We’ve never had anything like this — at least we’ve never had a president who thinks it’s a good thing," said Biden.
Last week, the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., praised the "Trump train" and urged his father's supporters to give Harris "a nice Trump Train welcome" when she arrived in McAllen to campaign on Friday.
One widely shared video showed a pro-Trump vehicle and another car that was part of the Biden campaign bump into each other behind the bus on the I-35 in Hays County.
Eric Cervini, who was volunteering to help the Biden campaign bus tour, tweeted that he called 911 after several trucks surrounded the bus and "attempted to drive it off the road."
Cervini said one of the trucks "ended up hitting a [Biden] staffer's car" but nobody was hurt.
He said the Trump trucks were "sitting along I-35, waiting to ambush the Biden/Harris campaign bus as it traveled from San Antonio to Austin."
Katie Naranjo, the Travis County Democratic Party chair, said Trump supporters followed the bus throughout central Texas to "intimidate Biden supporters."
The New Braunfels police department received several calls regarding "members of the Trump train following the Biden/Harris campaign bus," City Manager Robert Camareno said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News.
The responding officers did not observe any traffic violations and no accidents were reported in relation to the incident within the New Braunfels city limits, Camareno said.
The officers monitored the procession until the city limits and notified the next jurisdictions about the "activity that was headed in their direction," the statement said.
State Rep. Sheryl Cole tweeted that she canceled a joint event in Pflugerville with the Biden campaign on Friday due to "security reasons" after pro-Trump protesters "escalated well beyond safe limits."
Cole's spokesperson, Andre Treiber, told BuzzFeed News that hers was one of three scheduled events that the Texas Democrats canceled on Friday for "safety and security reasons," including an event in San Marcos and another at the AFL-CIO in Austin.
Treiber said that while there wasn't a direct threat to any of the events, the decision to cancel them was because "tensions were rising and things were getting heated."
"When you're going to have a lot of people at rallies and events...we have to keep the people safe," Treiber said.
He said the "Trump protesters" had been following the Biden bus all along the highway.
"As long as you're doing it safely and legally, there's nothing wrong with protesting," Treiber said. But then, the Trump vehicle collided with a car that belonged to the Biden caravan, he said, adding that it was hard to tell whether it was an accident or "something intentional."
In a bizarre statement responding to the incident, the Texas GOP chair Allen West called the incident "fake news and propaganda" and urged reporters to "prepare to lose."
The Texas GOP said a Texas Tribune reporter who reached out to them for comment was trying to "portray conservatives as violent radicals, even though it is leftists from Antifa and BLM who have been assaulting, robbing, and looting fellow citizens and their property."
In his statement, West attacked the media for not being concerned about "real violence," referring to the deaths of three Trump supporters and falsely claiming that a "leftist mob" attempted to storm and burn down the house of the McCloskeys — a St. Louis couple indicted on felony charges after they waved their guns at Black Lives Matter protesters on their street.
"Prepare to lose…stop bothering me. Maybe Soros can cut y’all another check in 2022," West said.