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'Trump Trains' Roll Across Texas, From Laredo To The Hill Country

A jeep full of people participate in a Trump Train event in Boerne.
A jeep full of people participate in a Trump Train event in Boerne.

In Boerne, New Braunfels and other parts of Texas, large “Trump Trains” roll through town on a regular basis.

A new form of political expression is becoming more popular due to COVID-19 restrictions — car caravans. In Boerne, New Braunfels and other parts of Texas, large “Trump Trains” roll through town on a regular basis.

At the first local rally on August 29, about 200 vehicles drove through the streets of Boerne. In the first week of September, that caravan swelled to 400. And over Labor Day weekend, it grew to more than 500.

“And it was great to see so many happy, patriotic people out. It was a lot of fun,” said organizer Lorrie Agold-Rich.

Agold-Rich has helped coordinate the three events in Boerne. After the city received traffic and noise complaints following the first two rallies, the police department reached out to assist with traffic control for the third.

“We told everybody to follow the traffic laws — they all apply,” she said. “It's not a real parade, so you can't be hanging out of your vehicle or anything like that, or riding in the back.”

Even with that guidance, a Boerne Police Department spokesperson said police issued citations or warnings for four traffic law violations during the most Labor Day weekend event.

During a separate Trump Train in New Braunfels, one participant drew criticism from event organizers when they dragged a Black Lives Matter flag through the streets.

In a written statement, New Braunfels Mayor Rusty Brockman said, “I do not condone any activity, symbolism, speech, or imagery with overt or implied racism or hatred.”

No incidents like that have happened in Boerne, and Agold-Rich said she wants to keep it that way.

“I think Ronald Reagan had really described patriotism as thinking positive about your country,” she said. “So we want people to focus on the positive and focus on our country, and on President Trump and the reelection, and not get into the politics and the negative stuff.”

Local Joe Biden supporters plan to hold a similar event this weekend, and the Boerne Police Department will again provide traffic control. The Texas Department of Public Safety encourages participants to follow traffic laws and stay inside their vehicles.

In Laredo, a Trump Train had planned to drive over a street mural against the president’s proposed border wall in the city's downtown. 

“It’s symbolic by stating that whoever is driving in this Trump train is supportive of President Trump and that they’re supportive of building the wall along the border, specifically in Laredo,” said Hector Garza, the Trump Train organizer and president of the local chapter of the National Border Patrol Council.

But the No Border Wall Coalition had requested a permit to touch up the mural with veterans this weekend, and another group plans to paint a “Back The Blue” mural nearby. Coalition leader Tricia Cortez said the city manager’s office had asked them if they could reschedule their event.

“Why are we being asked to not do it? What is so important about having the Trump Train drive over our mural and disrespect another Laredo group’s message?” she said. 

The city manager’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But Garza said they reached an agreement to change their route to avoid driving over the mural — for now.

“We are planning more events in the future, and we’re sure we’ll have another opportunity to symbolize what we wanted to do,” Garza said.

The No Border Wall Coalition says they’re grateful City Council listened to their concerns, and they were able to avoid a clash with the Trump train this weekend. 

María Méndez can be reached at marí or on Twitter at @anxious_maria.

Dominic Anthony Walsh can be reached at and on Twitter at @_DominicAnthony.

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Copyright 2020 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.

Dominic Anthony Walsh covers energy, the environment and public health for Texas Public Radio. He focuses on stories that reveal how major changes in climate systems, energy markets and public health policies affect communities in his hometown, San Antonio, and across the state.
María Méndez reports for Texas Public Radio from the border city of Laredo where she covers business issues from an area that is now the nation’s top trade hub. She knows Texas well. Méndez has reported on the state’s diverse communities and tumultuous politics through internships at the Austin American-Statesman, The Texas Tribune and The Dallas Morning News. She also participated in NPR’s Next Generation Radio program while studying at the University of Texas at Austin. At UT, she wrote for The Daily Texan and helped launch diversity initiatives, including two collaborative series on undocumented and first-generation college students. One of her stories for these series won an award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She spent the last year reporting for The Dallas Morning News as a summer breaking news intern and then as a fellow in the paper’s capital bureau in Austin. She is a native of Guanajuato in Central Mexico.