President Donald Trump criticized the FBI on Sunday for announcing an investigation into some of his supporters in Texas for harassing and endangering the lives of passengers on a Joe Biden campaign bus last week — an action that may have been inspired in part by the president’s own son just a couple of days prior.
Video on social media showed motorists, many with Trump 2020 flags or other insignia demonstrating their support for the president, surrounding a Biden for president campaign bus on a Texas interstate highway on Friday. The drivers shouted profanities toward the bus riders and attempted to slow the bus down to a complete stop.
The bus ended up slowing to 20 miles per hour at one point on the highway. Other videos shared online revealed more violent behavior, including a Trump-aligned pickup truck appearing to ram itself into the side of a vehicle that was escorting the Biden bus.
These tactics have no place in Texas, my home state, and no place in America.
Please vote. Please volunteer this weekend. The future of our democracy is at stake. pic.twitter.com/G0O4yg2vnJ
— Dr. Eric Cervini (@ericcervini) October 31, 2020
After the video appeared on social media, the president tweeted out his support for his supporters who surrounded the bus, displaying an edited video that omitted their more violent acts. “I LOVE TEXAS!” Trump said on Twitter Saturday.
Later, the FBI announced that it was looking into the matter.
“FBI San Antonio is aware of the incident and investigating,” FBI spokesperson Michelle Lee said to CNN.
The announcement prompted the president to complain on Sunday about the fact that an inquiry into his violent supporters had been opened.
“In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong,” Trump said, suggesting that the FBI should look into antifa instead.
At several points during his presidency, Trump has used his bully pulpit to criticize a number of institutions, including political opponents and the media, in a manner that has oftentimes inspired his backers to act violently. It’s possible, however, that this time around, Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., inspired his father’s supporters to behave maliciously.
Days before the apparent attack on the Biden bus took place, Trump Jr. shared a video message to the president’s supporters in Texas, encouraging them to harass a planned event involving Biden’s vice presidential running-mate, Kamala Harris.
“It’d be great if you guys would all get together, head down to McAllen and give Kamala Harris a nice Trump train welcome,” Trump Jr. said in the message published on Wednesday.
Texas is Trump country so @DonaldJTrumpJr has a special message to Laredo, Texas. Head to McAllen, Texas on October 30th and help give Kamala Harris a big Trump Texas welcome. pic.twitter.com/qB4hukL6xz
— Kambree (@KamVTV) October 28, 2020
“Get out there, have some fun. Get out there, guys,” he added.
Neither Harris nor Biden were on board the bus during the apparent attack, but Democratic candidates running in local races were riding on it, including former state lawmaker Wendy Davis, who is running for a U.S. House seat in Texas. After the dangerous provocation on the highway unfolded, Davis and others on the bus canceled their planned campaign event due to safety concerns.