A giant “Baby Trump” protest balloon, which has been following President Donald Trump around the world for over a year, was knifed by one of his supporters in Alabama on Saturday during his trip to the state. The incident occurred as Trump received loud cheers and applause from college football fans at Bryrant-Denny Stadium as the University of Alabama faced off against Louisiana State University.
The over 20-foot-tall balloon was flying in the skies at a nearby park during Trump’s visit to watch the game when an unnamed man stabbed it with a knife and left a 8-foot-long gash, according to Associated Press. Jim Girvan, who leads a group that “adopts” out the balloons for various protests, confirmed that the suspect was apprehended by authorities and taken into custody.
Newsweek reached out to the Tuscaloosa Police Department for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.
The orange balloon, which features the president in diapers and holding a smartphone for tweeting, was first flown in London, U.K. in anticipation of a 2018 state visit from the U.S. leader to protest his visit, policies and history of alleged sexual misconduct. Since then, it has been seen in various other locations that Trump has visited, including in the U.S., France, Argentina, Ireland and Denmark. Several groups now offer replicas of the balloon to various protests across America.
Robert Kennedy, a volunteer who brought the “Baby Trump” balloon to Tuscaloosa and was tasked with minding it, told AP that the inflatable blimp immediately began falling after the attack. A photo of the aftermath shows the deflated object lying on a sheet of tarpaulin.
The attacker initially attempted to run away but the police caught him, according to Kennedy who has gone with the balloon to numerous protests without incident. “It is rare to get that kind of anger,” he said.
Meanwhile, Trump was getting a warm reception during the game as supporters in Alabama chanted “USA” when he appeared in his box suite. Other videos, uploaded to Twitter, showed anti-Trump fans booing him, though they were largely downed out by the resounding cheers. Earlier in the day, as Trump’s motorcade pulled up to the stadium prior to kickoff, bystanders surrounding the area cheered his arrival. One person on a megaphone was even heard comparing him to Jesus Christ.
The president’s Saturday appearance preceded two recent widely-covered athletic events where he was overwhelmingly booed by the attendees in the crowd.
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