Law enforcement officials in Jacksonville, Fla., say a driver intentionally crashed a van into a tent where Trump campaign volunteers were registering voters Saturday afternoon.
Thankfully, no one was injured.
“We are investigating this as an aggravated assault,” Lt. Larry Gayle of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said. “Several people were in the area and could have been seriously hurt.”
According to Gayle, after plowing through the tent, the driver stopped, got out of the van, then took a video of the scene before flipping off the victims and fleeing the scene. Despite this, Gayle says they don’t know the motivation of the suspect, “but, we are just starting the investigation.”
Obviously they don’t want to speculate, but the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office should be treating this incident as a potential hate crime—just as they most certainly would be if the victims were minorities and the suspect was caucasian.
The Duval County GOP posted images of the scene and detailed the incident on Twitter.
Today in Jacksonville, Florida six Trump Campaign volunteers were intentionally targeted while registering voters. pic.twitter.com/0wzaCYh5ut
— Duval County GOP (@DuvalGOP) February 8, 2020
“We are outraged by this senseless act of violence toward our great volunteers,” said Duval GOP Chairman Dean Black. “The Republican Party of Duval County will not be intimidated by these cowards and we will not be silenced.”
Black added, “I call on every Republican in our great city to stand up, get involved, and show these radicals that we will not be intimidated from exercising our Constitutional rights.”
The Duval County GOP now plans to “redouble its efforts to register voters” and will continue with “renewed intensity to re-elect President Donald Trump.”
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel responded to the incident on Twitter. “These unprovoked, senseless attacks on @realDonaldTrump’s supporters need to end. I want to echo the @DuvalGOP in saying: We will not be silenced by cowards, and these disgusting acts will only make us work harder to win November.”
These unprovoked, senseless attacks on @realDonaldTrump's supporters need to end. I want to echo the @DuvalGOP in saying: We will not be silenced by cowards, and these disgusting acts will only make us work harder to win November. https://t.co/GQ7OrbtSO2
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) February 9, 2020
President Trump also responded to the incident. “Law Enforcement has been notified. Be careful tough guys who you play with!” he wrote on Twitter.
Law Enforcement has been notified. Be careful tough guys who you play with! https://t.co/1Pq0hOrzy2
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2020
Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio both responded to the incident as well.
This appears to be a politically-motivated attack on hard-working volunteers in Duval County. Thankful that no one was hurt. @DuvalGOP will not be silenced or intimidated. They will redouble their efforts to support strong Republicans in NE Florida and around the state! https://t.co/F4Qi7hk7CR
— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) February 8, 2020
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 8, 2020
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is now looking into whether the driver of the vehicle has posted the video he took on social media.
Anyone with information can contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500 or email their tip line at [email protected] Anonymous tips can be made by calling Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-TIPS.
Given the obvious political nature of this incident that targeted supporters of President Trump’s campaign, every single Democratic candidate’s campaign should condemn the actions of the suspect. I’d be willing to bet that none will.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis