The infamous “Baby Trump” balloon, that made its debut in a series of protests in London last summer, met an untimely end outside of the University of Alabama – Louisiana State University football game in Alabama Saturday during a small protest of President Trump’s visit.
Trump made an appearance Saturday, to raucous cheers, at the game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers, ending a short streak of appearances — one at game 5 of the World Series in Washington, D.C., and one at a UFC fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City — where the President appeared to a mixed reception.
“There was little sign of political sentiment on campus but plenty of bipartisan grumbling about the long lines to get in due to enhanced security,” NBC News reported — but there was a small demonstration involving the “Baby Trump” balloon, which organizers paid a shocking $4,500 to “adopt” for the day (the group raised nearly $8,000 for the effort, with the extra going to the Equal Justice Initiative).
“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 (2.4-meter-long) gash in the back,” according to the Associated Press.
Hoyt Hutchinson, a 32-year-old Alabama fan, was arrested for the attack on the balloon, which depicts Trump as an orange-hued baby wearing a diaper and holding a cell phone set to Twitter. He is shown in a video, posted to social media, being loaded into the back of a police car, while still screaming at the protesters.
Just watched a guy get arrested for stabbing this balloon lmao pic.twitter.com/m4D5n4YOUy
— beach glass babe (@delovelylany) November 9, 2019
Robert Kennedy, a volunteer “babysitter” for the towering balloon, says that the demonstration was relatively uneventful before Hutchinson showed up, but the protest wasn’t as well-received as it’s been in other places. Spectators, he said, mostly just yelled “Trump 2020” at the balloon or posed in front of it for selifes, before Hutchinson sidled up to the back of the balloon and stabbed it with a small knife.
“It is rare to get that kind of anger,” Kennedy told media. This is the first time, in its many appearances, that the “Baby Trump” balloon has met with a disastrous fate, he added.
Hutchinson posted a Facebook live video from his car ahead of the Alabama-LSU game, telling friends that he had a plan to disrupt the anti-Trump protest: “I’m going down here to make a scene, so y’all watch the news,” he said. “This is pathetic. I’m fixing to get rowdy.”
“I’m shaking I’m so mad right now,” he continued. “I’m fixin’ to pop this balloon. Stay tuned. It should be interesting.”
Security at the game was heavy and Hutchinson was quickly apprehended, though he did try to slink away after stabbing the balloon.
“Officers observed Hoyt Deau Hutchinson, age 32 of Tuscaloosa, AL, cut into the “Baby Trump” balloon, and then attempted (sic) to flee the area. Officers apprehended the suspect and took him into custody on a charge of Criminal Mischief First Degree. Hoyt was transported to Tuscaloosa County Jail where he was held on a $2,500 bond,” according to a statement from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, police.
Friends of Hutchison launched a crowdsourcing page Saturday night to help Hutchinson afford bail.
“Hoyt made sure our beloved president didn’t have to see this disrespectful balloon on the streets of Ttown today!!,” the page’s description crowed. By the time the page came to the attention of national media, Hutchinson’s friends had raised more than $13,000 — well more than the page’s $6,000 fundraising goal.