‘Baby Trump’ balloon slashed at Alabama appearance

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A towering Baby Trump protest balloon was knifed and deflated Saturday by someone unhappy with its appearance during President Donald Trump’s 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 Baby Trump balloons for protests, said a man charged the balloon with a knife and cut an 8-foot-long gash in the back.

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The Tuscaloosa Police Department said on Facebook that officers saw Hoyt Deau Hutchinson, 32, of Tuscaloosa, cut into the balloon and then try to flee. They arrested him on suspicion of criminal mischief first degree, and he was being held in Tuscaloosa County Jail on $2,500 bond.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attended the game Saturday between the LSU Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.Todd Kirkland / Getty Images

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 it immediately began to sag after it was cut.

Hoyt Deau Hutchinson, 32.Tuscaloosa Police Department / Tuscaloosa Police Department

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. He ran away but was caught by police officers, Kennedy said.

Kennedy said he has accompanied Baby Trump to many appearances and never witnessed an attack on the balloon, although someone did stab a Baby Trump balloon in London earlier this year.

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

Suzanne Ciechalski contributed.

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https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/baby-trump-balloon-slashed-alabama-appearance-n1079351?cid=public-rss_20191110

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