A man was arrested Saturday for allegedly stabbing a “Baby Trump” balloon set up to protest the president’s visit to a University of Alabama football game.
Hoyt Hutchinson, a 32-year-old supporter of President Donald Trump and Alabama football, made no effort to hide his responsibility for the crime. He posted a video to Facebook announcing that he was going after the balloon, which depicts 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. If you got any balls come join me,” Hutchinson said in the clip. “This is pathetic. I’m fixing to get rowdy.”
“I’m fixing to pop this balloon, without a doubt. Stay tuned. Should be interesting,” he added.
The demise of the balloon was a blow to the organizers of the anti-Trump protest, which was held not far from the university.
Donors contributed $7,882 to bring Baby Trump roughly a mile from Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium for the Alabama-LSU game. The rental cost $4,500, and the surplus went to the Equal Justice Initiative.
According to The Associated Press, about a dozen protesters were gathered around the balloon when it was popped.
Robert Kennedy, who volunteered to protect Baby Trump, told The AP that a number of passersby shouted “Trump 2020. But overall, he said, the day had been going smoothly, with supporters stopping to take selfies with the balloon.
That was until a man charged at Baby Trump from behind and stabbed the balloon with a knife, leaving an 8-foot-long gash in its back. He then fled the scene.
A left-wing student who posed with the balloon called its deflation “the most devastating loss of the day,” apparently ranking it above Alabama’s 41-46 loss to LSU on the field.
Other liberal commenters variously accused the stabber of being violent, racist, backward and pathetic.
— James Morrison (@JamesPMorrison) November 10, 2019
Donald Trump cheered loudly as he’s shown on video board in Bryant-Denny Stadium. pic.twitter.com/RfvQO0eBmx
— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) November 9, 2019
Hoyt Hutchinson gets showered with money and praise
Later Saturday, Hutchinson was arrested and charged with felony first-degree criminal mischief. He was released on $2,500 bond.
“Some liberals tried to come to my hometown and start some trouble. That ain’t happenin’,” he said. “I’d do it again.”
The Trump supporter also launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover his legal expenses and “restitution.” The campaign quickly exceeded its $6,000 goal, and as of Sunday morning, had raised more than $17,000.
“Hoyt made sure our beloved president didn’t have to see this disrespectful balloon on the streets of Ttown today!!” a message on the page said.
“Good on you,” wrote a donor who pledged $20. “I am sick of these nasty social maggots getting away with offensive behavior. That balloon offends me!”
“Antifa can all but KILL a conservative reporter – a HUMAN BEING – nothing is done. No arrest,” another donor wrote. “This young man deflates an OFFENSIVE BALLOON & is arrested. I think we are a little lopsided with justice.”
On social media, Trump supporters also questioned the severity of the charges against Hutchinson and hailed him as a hero.
Not all Heroes wear Capes!! Hoyt Hutchinson popped the Baby Trump balloon in Tuscaloosa. It’s beyond repair. pic.twitter.com/xM1xGY0snt
— GKIRBO (@gkirbo_hbk) November 9, 2019
Baby Trump first made headlines last June when anti-Trump protesters flew it above London during the president’s visit. Several groups raise money to bring balloon replicas around the United States.
- Scenes before and after a “Baby Trump” balloon was deflated near the University of Alabama on Nov. 9, 2019.: Screen grabs