A man was taken into custody Saturday after he stabbed a “Baby Trump” protest balloon on display near the University of Alabama, where the president was attending the Crimson Tide’s football game against LSU.
Hoyt Hutchinson, 32, was charged with felony first-degree criminal mischief, according to the Tuscaloosa News. The paper reported that Hutchinson posted a Facebook Live video saying he planned to deflate the balloon depicting Trump as a crying baby wearing a diaper and holding a cell phone.
“I’m going down here to make a scene, so y’all watch the news,” he said in the video. “This is pathetic. I’m fixing to get rowdy.”
Jim Girvan, the organizer of a group that “adopts” out Baby Trump balloons for protests, told the Associated Press a man charged the balloon with a knife and cut an 8-foot-long gash in the back.
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.
Donors contributed $7,882 to bring the inflatable roughly a mile from Alabama’s Bryant-Denny stadium for the Alabam-LSU game. The rental cost $4,500 and any donations above that went to the Equal Justice Initiative. The balloon was surrounded by about a dozen anti-Trump protesters.
“I’m shaking, I’m so mad right now,” Hutchinson said. “I’m fixing to pop this balloon, without a doubt. Stay tuned, this should be interesting.”
Hutchinson’s bond was set at $2,500. Donors had given a total of $955 to contribute to his legal fees as of Saturday evening.
Robert Kennedy, a volunteer “baby sitter” 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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