A man intentionally rammed his van into a voter registration tent staffed by supporters of President Donald Trump on Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida, according to police.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said nobody was injured in the incident, which took place around 2:45 p.m. in the Kernan Village shopping center. But Lt. Larry Gayle of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office told reporters at the scene that the volunteers were badly “shaken up.”
Six Duval County GOP volunteers were working at the tent when a white man drove toward them in an older brown van, possibly of 1980s vintage, Gayle said. The man then drove through the tent, endangering the lives of the workers and damaging the tent and tables.
After the apparent attack, the man stopped, got out of the van and took a video of the wreckage before he “flipped off” the victims and fled, according to Gayle.
“We are investigating this as an aggravated assault. Several people were in the area and could have been seriously hurt,” he said. “We don’t know what the suspect’s motivation was, but we are just starting the investigation.”
Photos released by the Duval County GOP showed the tent knocked over and pro-Trump paraphernalia scattered on the pavement.
Police said they were taking the matter “very seriously.”
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office announced Sunday that Gregory Timm, 27, had been arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack.
#JSO has arrested the suspect who drove through the voter registration tent in the area of 11900 Atlantic Boulevard.
Gregory Timm has been charged with Aggravated Assault, Criminal Mischief, and Driving While Driver’s License Suspended. pic.twitter.com/zGKbR2VTg0
— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) February 9, 2020
Timm faced multiple charges, including two counts of aggravated assault on a person 65 years of age or older, one count of criminal mischief, and driving with a suspended license.
Trump responds after his supporters are almost run over
The incident made headlines and drew condemnation from Duval County to the White House.
County GOP Chairman Dean Black said Republicans would not be “intimidated by these cowards.”
“We are outraged by this senseless act of violence toward our great volunteers,” he said in a statement. “The Republican Party of Duval County will not be intimidated by these cowards and we will not be silenced. I call on every Republican in our great city to stand up, get involved, and show these radicals that we will not be intimidated from exercising our Constitutional rights.”
Duval County Democrats President Daniel Henry also spoke out, saying: “No one’s life should be placed in danger for exercising their first amendment rights.”
The Mayor of Jacksonville, Lenny Curry, said on Twitter: “This is outrageous. The hate is toxic and dangerous. Thankfully no one was injured but certainly they are shaken after being targeted because they were registering voters.”
Sen. Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, tweeted that the attack “appears to be politically motivated” and warned that it would only further motivate local Republicans to work for Trump’s election in 2020.
“Thankful that no one was hurt. @DuvalGOP will not be silenced or intimidated,” he said.
Republican Party Chair Ronna McDaniel added: “We will not be silenced by cowards, and these disgusting acts will only make us work harder to win November.”
These unprovoked, senseless attacks on @realDonaldTrump's supporters need to end. I want to echo the @DuvalGOP in saying: We will not be silenced by cowards, and these disgusting acts will only make us work harder to win November. https://t.co/GQ7OrbtSO2
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) February 9, 2020
Trump retweeted McDaniel’s post, and said: “Law Enforcement has been notified. Be careful tough guys who you play with!”
Law Enforcement has been notified. Be careful tough guys who you play with! https://t.co/1Pq0hOrzy2
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2020
A history of violence
On Wednesday, Students for Trump at Arizona State University posted footage to Twitter that showed a young man threatening their volunteers on the Phoenix campus. The man, wearing all black, screamed “slash the throat” of “every f—ing Republican” and told the volunteers to “suck my f–ing balls.”
University police that they were investigating the incident after the video was widely disseminated on social media.
Trump was acquitted as expected in his impeachment trial by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday.
In 2018, therapists indicated a rise in what they unofficially diagnosed as “Trump Anxiety Disorder.”
Clinical psychologist Jennifer Panning – who is credited with originally coining the term – described the symptoms of “Trump Anxiety disorder” in a 2017 essay as worrying about the state of the country, feeling helpless and out of control, and spending too much time on social media.