Police arrest a man they say deflated a “Baby Trump” balloon in Alabama

Balloons are political in 2019.
Balloons are political in 2019.
Image: REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
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Police in Tuscaloosa, Alabama arrested a person in connection with a balloon-slashing incident that took place Nov. 9 during Donald Trump’s visit to a football game between the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University.

According to the authorities, 32-year-old Hoyt Deau Hutchinson was arrested and charged with first-degree criminal mischief for cutting into a “Baby Trump” balloon that protesters were using to object to the president’s visit.

The scowling, diaper-clad balloon caricature of the president, which first appeared during Trump’s first official visit to the UK in 2018, is now a regular occurrence at Trump visits around the US—so regular, in fact, that a website called “Baby Trump Tour” now rents six of them out to protesters and tracks their appearance at protests across the country.

The Tuscaloosa protesters said they raised thousands of dollars to bring the balloon to the Alabama-LSU game, according to the Washington Post. It is unclear exactly what Hutchinson’s motives may have been, but videos circulating around social media purport to show him shouting “Trump will win” while being pulled into a police car.

Other than the protest, Trump received a warm reception inside of Bryant-Denny Stadium. But in recent weeks, Trump’s appearances at sporting events have caused controversy. He was booed and met with chants of “lock him up” and “impeach Trump” at a World Series baseball game in Washington, DC in October, and received a less-than-positive reception at a mixed-martial arts event in New York City last week.

The incident in Tuscaloosa is not the first time a “Baby Trump” balloon has been the subject of a counter-protester’s ire. A woman was reportedly arrested in London for slashing one such balloon on the second day of Trump’s visit to the UK in June. But Robert Kennedy, a volunteer who brought the balloon to Tuscaloosa, told the Associated Press, “It is rare to get that kind of anger.”