TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP/WIAT) — A towering Baby Trump protest balloon was knifed and deflated by someone unhappy with its appearance during President Donald Trump’s Saturday trip to Alabama, organizers said.
The incident occurred during Trump’s visit to watch the University of Alabama football game. The balloon, which is over 20 feet tall, was set up in a nearby park.
Jim Girvan, the organizer of a group that “adopts” out Baby Trump balloons for protests, said a man charged the balloon with a knife and cut an 8-foot-long gash in the back. Girvan said the man was arrested.
Hoyt Hutchinson, who was arrested after the incident, bonded out of the Tuscaloosa County Jail on a criminal mischief charge, officials said.
Hours before his arrest, Hutchinson revealed his plan to pop the “Baby Trump” balloon in a Facebook live video posted on his Facebook page.
The orange, diaper-clad, cellphone-clutching caricature of the president is often taken to Trump appearances as a way to protest him.
Baby Trump first rose over London when local activists brainstormed a way to troll Trump. Now several groups raise money to bring balloon replicas around the U.S.
Robert Kennedy, a volunteer “baby sitter” who brought the balloon to Tuscaloosa, said the balloon immediately began to sag after it was cut.
The day had been going mostly smoothly, Kennedy said. Some people yelled “Trump 2020” as they passed while others posed for selfies with the balloon.
But then Kennedy said a man sidled up on the back of the balloon and attacked it with a knife. He ran away but was caught by police officers, Kennedy said.
Kennedy said he’s accompanied Baby Trump to many appearances and never witnessed an attack on the balloon, although someone did stab a Baby Trump balloon in London earlier this year.
“It is rare to get that kind of anger,” Kennedy said.
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