TODAY'S PAPER
51° Good Morning
51° Good Morning
NewsNation

'Baby Trump' balloon slashed at Alabama appearance

A responding officer and an unidentified man stands

A responding officer and an unidentified man stands by a Baby Trump balloon deflated by someone at Monnish Park as people were protesting President Donald Trump's visit to an NCAA college football game between Louisiana State and Alabama playing nearby in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Nov. 9, 2019. Credit: AP/Stephanie Taylor

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A towering "Baby Trump" protest balloon was knifed and deflated by someone unhappy with its appearance during President Donald Trump's Saturday trip to Alabama, organizers said.

The incident occurred during Trump's visit to watch the University of Alabama football game. The balloon, which is over 20 feet tall, was set up in a nearby park.

Jim Girvan, the organizer of a group that "adopts" out the Trump balloons for protests, said a man charged the balloon with a knife and cut an 8-foot-long gash in the back.

In a news release, Tuscaloosa police said Hoyt Deau Hutchinson, 32, was arrested and charged with first-degree criminal mischief.

The orange, diaper-clad, cellphone-clutching caricature of the president is often taken to Trump appearances as a way to protest him.

"Baby Trump" first rose over London when local activists brainstormed a way to troll Trump. Now several groups raise money to bring balloon replicas around the U.S.

Robert Kennedy, a volunteer "baby sitter" who brought the balloon to Tuscaloosa, said the balloon immediately began to sag after it was cut.

The day had been going mostly smoothly, Kennedy said. Some people yelled "Trump 2020" as they passed while others posed for selfies with the balloon. But then Kennedy said a man sidled up on the back of the balloon and attacked it with a knife. The suspect ran away but was caught by police officers, Kennedy said.

It is unclear whether Hutchinson has an attorney who could comment.

Kennedy said he's accompanied "Baby Trump" to many appearances and never witnessed an attack on it, although someone did stab one of the balloons in London earlier this year.

"It is rare to get that kind of anger," Kennedy said.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News Photos and Videos