‘Trump Train’ drivers who tried to run Biden bus off road sued under KKK Act

Story Highlights

  • Lawsuits have been filed against "Trump Train" drivers who tried to run Biden bus off-road and law enforcement who "turned a blind eye."
  • The plaintiffs claim the defendants violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.

Days before the 2020 election, a bus transporting a team of President Joe Biden’s campaign staff to an event in Texas was nearly run off the road by a barrage of vehicles toting Trump flags. Now, two lawsuits have been filed in relation to the incident — one against the Trump supporting drivers, dubbed the ‘Trump Train,’ and another against law enforcement who “turned a blind eye.” 

“When members of the ‘Trump Train’ surrounded us on the highway and started harassing and threatening us, we were terrified,” said bus driver and plaintiff Timothy Holloway in a press release. 

The plaintiffs claim that the actions of both defendants were in violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, a law designed to protect against political violence and voter intimidation, particularly of formerly enslaved people. 

In the lawsuit filed against the drivers, the plaintiffs argue that the Trump Train’s goal was to intimidate supporters of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. And the tactic worked — the final event of the Biden campaign’s “Battle for the Soul of the Nation” tour was cancelled. 

When videos of the incident surfaced, former President Donald Trump and some Republican lawmakers spoke positively of the drivers’ actions. 

Trump tweeted an edited video of the drivers surrounding the bus with the caption “I LOVE TEXAS!” and later — after the FBI established its intent to investigate the incident — tweeted that the drivers were “patriots” who “did nothing wrong.” 

At the time, Eric Cervini, another plaintiff who accompanied the Biden-Harris bus in a separate vehicle, described the event as an “ambush” by armed Trump supporters in pickup trucks seeking to run the bus off the road. 

“Everyone on the campaign bus was doing what good citizens of any political party should do — engaging in the electoral process,” Cervini said in Friday’s news release.

According to the lawsuit, at least one of the Trump Train drivers has been identified as a participant in the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. The plaintiffs further allege that the drivers’ actions were spurred on by Trump campaign surrogates, including Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr.

The second lawsuit, which claims law enforcement skirted their duties to protect the Biden-Harris bus, claims that local police refused to send police escorts.

“Certain officers from the San Marcos Police Department said that they would not respond unless the Biden-Harris Campaign was ‘reporting a crime,’ explaining: ‘we can’t help you,’” the lawsuit says.

The plaintiffs all claimed the event caused them to fear for their lives. Holloway described trouble sleeping for more than a month after the incident and ultimately chose to stop driving buses. Cervini described the incident as a “nightmare.” Other plaintiffs said they experienced extreme anxiety, manifesting physically for some, as a result of the incident. 

“Political violence is toxic to the foundations of our democracy,” said John Paredes, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers. “To have a functioning democracy, elections must be won based on the strength of a party’s ideas at the ballot box, not the strength of their militias in the streets.”

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