Following Texas highway incident, Trump responds in Trumpian way

Trump saw the footage of the incident, praised those responsible, and rejected the idea that what transpired should even be investigated by law enforcement
Image: President Donald Trump makes a campaign stop at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport on Nov. 1, 2020 in Opa Locka, Fla.
President Donald Trump makes a campaign stop at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport on Nov. 1, 2020 in Opa Locka, Fla.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Accounts differ as to exactly what happened on I-35 in Texas on Friday afternoon, but it appears to have been a tense and potentially dangerous situation. A Biden-Harris campaign bus heading from San Antonio to Austin found itself surrounded by a caravan of Donald Trump supporters, and according to a New York Times report, the presidential backers "appeared to be attempting to slow [the bus] down and force it to the side of the road."

The same article added, "In one instance, the vehicles pulled in front of the bus and tried to stop in the middle of the highway."

It wasn't long before the Republican incumbent saw the incident as something worthy of praise, with Trump tweeting his support for the caravan of supporters, and touting their antics during campaign appearances. As the weekend progressed, the president claimed the caravan was "protecting" the bus -- from what, he did not say -- adding that his backers were merely "escorting" the Biden-Harris vehicle.

Nevertheless, the Texas Department of Public Safety announced that it is opening an investigation into the incident, and the FBI said it's also examining what happened. For his part, Trump is outraged -- not by what transpired on the highway, but by officials' willingness to determine what happened. NBC News reported overnight:

President Donald Trump lashed out at the FBI on Sunday after it said it was investigating reports that a caravan of his supporters harassed a bus belonging to Joe Biden's campaign. "In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong," Trump said in a tweet. "Instead, the FBI [and] Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!"

In other words, the president saw the footage of the incident, praised those responsible, and rejected the idea that what transpired should even be looked at by law enforcement.

It raises questions anew about Trump's comfort with, and support for, confrontations and intimidation tactics during the elections.

On CBS News' "Face the Nation" yesterday, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel was asked about the highway incident, and according to the transcript, she said, "You know, I haven't seen that part of the video, I saw a little bit of the Trump supporters surrounding the Biden bus. Certainly you don't want harm, and we shouldn't be hurting other people. So the president would not endorse that."

Here's hoping she's right.