NB Trump Parade Truck Drags Black Lives Matter Flag; City Says Free Speech Isn’t the Issue
An image of a Black Lives Matter flag tied to the underside of a white pickup truck flying five Trump-themed flags at the New Braunfels Trump Train parade on Thursday made the rounds on social media today.
Many who have seen it are livid.
“Black families are afraid to leave their homes when the Trump Train is out,” said New Braunfels resident Morena Hockley, who also challenged Comal ISD Board of Trustees President David Drastata for calling COVID-19 ‘the China virus’ in an email to Canyon High School parents in late August.
“How is this any different from the old KKK parades in the Deep South?” she asked on Intersectional NB’s Facebook page. “Why is our community prioritizing the comfort of racist white people over the safety of people of color in our community? And how do we fight this?”
Someone posting to the Ruona Nails Facebook page took credit for dragging the Black Lives Matter flag behind their vehicle, alongside an Antifa flag.
“Nope, they gonna stay down there dragging until they fall off, lol,” Ruona Nails posted. “They made it all the way home. Now for my neighbors to see them.”
Trump Train Gains Steam
The New Braunfels Trump Train, which started out “very small” three months ago, according to organizers, now attracts drivers and passengers of as many as 400 vehicles. They pull into the parking lot at the Creekside shopping center at I-35 and FM 306 at 6:30 p.m. each Thursday. The event is so popular that hundreds of participants gather to set up tents, pray, socialize, sell flagpoles, distribute masks, say the pledge of allegiance and play the national anthem before heading out to drive around the city.
On Thursday, the Comal County Republican Party even conducted a voter-registration drive, signing up 20 new voters from Comal County and four from neighboring Guadalupe County.
Critics say some of these participants are drinking and like to intimidate shoppers. According to several sources, a Black couple visiting from out-of-town complained about someone yelling the ‘N’ word at them outside of Belks.
A New Braunfels business owner who lives in a house on Common Street, which is on the parade route, said Trump Train participants are just as boisterous when they pass in front of his residence. He timed the parade on Thursday. It took an hour and 22 minutes to pass his house.
“You can’t break up traffic on Common Street because you will run into each other,” he said of the traffic jam in his Rivercrest neighborhood.
The business owner said he’s afraid to use his name publicly, for fear of retribution. Troubles began when his wife grew tired of their baby being awakened by the weekly blasting of horns, which are modified to sound like train whistles, and of loud cheering by people in vehicles and even by neighbors expressing their support for President Donald Trump.
She held up a sign saying “Baby sleeping, people live here,” and someone in the parade yelled she was a communist. Someone else shouted they would burn down her house if she was a leftist.
When the business owner, who is a U.S. citizen of Hispanic descent, came out of the house to see what the fuss was about, an elderly gentleman riding in one of the cars yelled at him to “get back on my boat” in front of his seven-year-old son.
The man, who also belongs to the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, described the Trump Train as a ‘ticking time bomb’ and dispelled any suggestions that the vehicles are evenly spaced or stop at lights.
“About all of the complaints were false. Everyone is behind us. The liberals will always lie and exaggerate everything.”
–Train Organizer Steve Ceh
“Every Thursday it gets larger and larger,” he said. “If there’s an emergency and you’re blocking all these lanes and I have to get out of my residence or something’s going on with my kids, it’s going to be difficult to get out of here. Nobody’s given me any prior warning. New Braunfels is always about doing things right. And for some reason, if they’re going to turn a blind eye…”
He said New Braunfels Mayor Rusty Brockman agreed with him in a phone call that there’s no room in New Braunfels for this kind of behavior.
The business owner also spoke with New Braunfels City Council Member Matthew Hoyt, whose District 4 encompasses much of the parade route. He suggested that Hoyt try sitting on the corner of Common and Union streets holding a Biden for President sign if he wants to get a feel for what the parade is really about.
Trump Train Can’t Be Stopped
This is where semantics enters in.
According to the New Braunfels Police Department Sgt. Tim Brinkkoeter, the Trump Train is doing everything right. It isn’t technically a parade and therefore doesn’t require a permit because drivers stop at stop signs and stoplights. They’re not breaking any laws as long as they obey the law and follow all traffic codes.
He said he spoke with organizer Steve Ceh about those laws, and can think of a single exception where the traffic code was violated. Trump Train follows the rules.
Council Member Hoyt said he’s received a number of complaints from his constituents not about the Trump Train, but about behavior and slurs yelled at residents — some of them which he described as “pretty threatening.”
Until a week ago, he said he wasn’t aware of the scope of the Trump Train, but doesn’t want to play judge and jury now.
Hoyt said he supports the First Amendment, which guarantees free speech in the United States.
“What I’m concerned about is when some of the behavior of a few of the members of this group or participants, borders on something more consistent with a hate group, which I don’t think represents most people in this group, but it’s certainly something I’m concerned about,” he said. “It’s scaring a number of people in my district who are upset.”
Hoyt said he won’t be “leading any charge” to take free speech away from his constituents.
“The First Amendment guarantees we all have a right to our opinions and yes, even to fly our flags with pride, but not at the expense of the safety, security and sanity of our community.”
–Gloria Meehan, Comal County Democratic chair
For the moment, it’s a safety issue, and he said he has shared his concern about the Trump Train with both the Comal County Sheriff’s Office and the New Braunfels police.
“I certainly hope that all members of our community can be respectful towards others who may not choose to be involved in one side or the other publicly but have the right to live peacefully, have the right not to have train horns going through their children’s bedrooms as they pass through,” he said. “It seems disrespectful.”
For his part, Ceh said last night’s parade went smoothly.
“NBPD was on site at the start and end,” he said. “I discussed the night with them and he said very few complaints about honking. That was it. Out of over 400 vehicles. That is something to be proud of.”
Ceh said he also spoke with county judges, New Braunfels Police Chief Tim Wibert, Comal County commissioners, county constables and New Braunfels city council members.
“About all of the complaints were false,” he said. “Everyone is behind us. The liberals will always lie and exaggerate everything.”
He said participants have been instructed not to disturb the woman with the sleeping baby and refrain from honking when they pass by.
“Ninety-nine percent of the community is in full support,” Ceh said. “It’s the one-percent that squeak a little.”
Father-of-the-sleeping-baby, the New Braunfels business person quoted earlier in this story, said the Trump Train passed by his house quietly at first on Thursday, but as it picked up steam along Common Street started honking horn whistles — loudly.
“The First Amendment guarantees we all have a right to our opinions and yes, even to fly our flags with pride, but not at the expense of the safety, security and sanity of our community,” said Gloria Meehan, Comal County Democratic chair, when asked for her response to the partisan issues and safety concerns raised by the New Braunfels Trump Train.
“I don’t think our city and county leaders envisioned a roaming mob, gunning their trucks and Mad-Maxing it through our town as an invitation to come live or visit our ‘Life Is Beautiful’ City of New Braunfels.”
New Braunfels Diversity Council
Dr. Jessica Edwards, a New Braunfels physician who is black and concerned about the message the Trump Train sends to people of color, weighed in on the controversy in an email today to Brockman and other members of the newly formed New Braunfels Diversity Council:
“Hello everyone. We should be adding the concerns of members of color in our community in regard to the weekly demonstrations as well. See picture attached. I had a patient call me saying that she didn’t feel safe leaving her home when these rallies were happening and another patient who was called the N word and spat at as they passed by her home.
“I am not saying to impinge on their right to free speech but there needs to be a discussion of at least making them get a permit, etc., and more monitoring for illegal behavior.
“I would also like to share with this committee that we have missed out on the opportunity for multiple doctors of color to move to our community in fear of these events and their concern of how they will be treated.
“This has affected my own practice expansion as well because the doctor was a single woman. Our town is better than this.”
Editor’s Note: Trump Train is canceled for Sept. 10. Instead, organizers are sponsoring a “foot” rally at the Main Plaza as a sign of support for Republican leaders meeting at the New Braunfels Convention Center.
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I find this piece very interested. Before I get hammered by the audience, I am nonpartisan. Some of those quoted in this piece I find very intriguing and have an agenda of some type. I am fairly new to New Braunfels been here for about 3 years but born and raised Texan. Regarding the parade or not parade, NB PD particularly Sgt. Tim Brinkkoeter stated that it was not a parade therefore the group needed no permit. However, later in the article, it states police were with the “parade until the beginning and end”. For the police working and riding with supporters, were they doing so on taxpayer’s money or did the group pay for their service? If it is taxpayer money then I would assume like most events and parades a permit would need to be necessary. If you look up the legal definition of Parade, this events meets all criteria.
I have seen Mr. Ceh in various articles since I have been here, usually in political or controversial events. These reading intrigue me as hold a degree in the field. If political ambition is his thing then why not support your local Republican group and support in a more moral and ethical way. Sure, I will get the “It’s my First Amendment right”? Usually, those who only quote one of the fundamental rights have never read the Constitution. Mrs/Ms. Meehan said it best if practicing your freedom of speech violates the safety, security, or infringes on the fundamental rights of others’ then they are in violation of the law. Common sense goes along away.
As an American of Mexican decent I am proud and honored to be a part of the Trump Train project. As a US Navy veteran I put myself in harms way to protect and serve this country from threats both foreign and domestic. I served so that people of every political persuasion or color could express themselves freely. Harassing the local government because you disagree with a local group of American Patriots is pathetic. We are a diverse group and just want to express ourselves freely. There are many people of color at our rallies and no one feels unsafe in any way. Actually we feel happy we are free to meet fellow Americans who understand that freedom is not free. God bless America
Okay to make sure I understand this correctly, no one was hurt? No business or houses were burned down or damaged – correct? I’d say that was pretty peaceful compared to what BLM & antifa members are doing throughout our country now. As far as someone’s business being affected you are aware COVID-19 is still pandemic. But, I’m sure that has NOTHING to do with it. As far as the guy treating to burn a house down that’s a treat not freedom of speech. A license plate # for authorities would have been great. Maybe use your energy for more peaceful “protests” in our country right now.
One or two bad apples dont represent the majority. There are white,black,Hispanic ,gay and lesbian supporters in the Trump Train. So what makes it racist? One idiot? Trump 2020!
Ditto! Well said.
I addressed this on Dr Edwards OpEd. I knew nothing of this parade the first 8 weeks. My husband and I got stuck in the middle of it. We witnessed those in the train run 2 red lights trying to stay together. Then they pulled in front of us, behind us and to the side. I took a photo of the guy standing in his truck bed which is also illegal. My complaint is the large numbers of vehicles, weaving from lane to another and running 2 stop lights. We happened to see them The next going the other direction.. We learned their route and stayed home 9-3 to avoid the group. I started seeing the post dragging the BLM flag and Nils Ruona’s hate filled speech associated with the group.
Mr Ceh called me a lying liberal, dared me to come out after I posted my experience. Told me I best be prepared because they pray and sing the National anthem. Stared I didn’t know what a nuclear family is. I said prayer and the Pledge for 6 years at RA h City Council meeting, public meeting or workshop. I have sung the National Anthem all the years at sporting events or band contests. We come from a military family in both sides. I’ve been married 33 years and raised three boys from birth to them owning their own homes in New Braunfels. We are moderates that do not support Trump but know many who do. Safety is the key complaint. Racism and reports of multiple issues on various nights leaded me to believe Mr Che’s group is not nearly as incident as they claim. You cannot control 400 participants. FYI we’ve had zero looting and rioting locally. That argument is false.
I have witness this as well. As stated in a previous post I am nonpartisan, I had disagreed with of the paraders through passing and I too was call liberal and left wing. I see it very ignorant when the these people boast political symbolism and lingo and yet they can only quote one line of the Constitution and lack the real knowledge and meaning of the symbols they boast proudly. Sheer ignorance.
I am an American of Mexican descent. Ive served 37 years in the USArmy and reserve, 17 years in support of LEOs. I have attended 4 Trump trains and have never once felt afraid, nor have seen any racial intimidation at the rally’s except on two occasions when separate vehicles drove through the parking lots waving blm and antifa flags blasting a rap music song “fu@k trump”. They giving everyone the one finger salute and swearing at attendees. We waved and laughed at them.
I would say that almost every complaint and false accusations is nothing but liberals self-victimization. Nobody here wants to waste their time on hurting you. We are celebrating our / your Nation, our / your President, and expressing our / your rights in support of law and order and keeping the United States of America great as ever.
New Braunfels is a respectable little town full of Patriots. If you feel threaten by that … well you are the one with issues not them.
Good bless America
Long live the Republic
See ya’ll at the polls!
For all of you Trump Train riders who are complaining about BLM and Antifa burning down buildings. Take note this is New Braunfels and we haven’t had any voilelce from the number of BLM protests in New Braunfels. As far as the liberals lieing. Yoy need to be honest with yourselves and listen to how much the lier you are supporting lies. Over 20, 000, but you close your eyes and ears to the truth about Trump.
This action is meant to provoke a reaction and fear. Not one thing they demonstrate and flash in your face would change a voters mind and certainly they are brainwashed to the point that not a single Train Member would have the courage to change their mind about Trump less their brothers in arms would clobber them and sentence them to hell. I would rather be labeled a Marxist any day over a Neo Nazi and believe me the next time you see these yahoos they’ll be wearing brown shirts and goose stepping around. What I recommend for these people is to quite riding around in your stupid trucks disturbing the peace and read a book for the first time in your life starting with The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer followed by the Bible that you tout but have never read. Believe me Joseph Goebbels would love these conformists.
Had a conversation yesterday with a neighbor. He asked me why I was not participating in the Trump Train excursions. I mentioned work prevented me from attending. He then stated we need to send a message that anti American minorities are not welcome here. They are “ruining” the neighborhood. He said they have the support of local community elected “employees”. If shat he is saying is true, we need to clean out city council and hire a new police chief. I refuse to be part of such a dysfunctional community.
Cancel culture is not ok. The best thing about living in USA is that I don’t have to agree with you or think like you but we can agree to disagree and still live and work together. We as a nation need to embrace the differences and stop with the division and name calling.
I think that everyone should file a noise complaints when this motorcade goes through a neighborhood. I have no problem with freedom of speech as long as it doesn’t suppress the freedoms of other people. Dragging the BLM flag is intimidation. It is ridiculous.
Dragging the BLM flag is not intimidation. BLM is a terrorist organization who needs to be stopped. The lives of black people matter, however BLM is not about that, they are about destroying this country, if you can’t see that, then you need to wake up.
Sorry but if blm and antifa can burn the American Flag and walk all over it then anyone is entitled to walk all over blm n antifa or any other groups flag. Talk about double standards!! Maybe we should start burning blm flags in protest as its not an Actual Flag
Representing All American people.. 💯💯
You notice how trumpers always try to put BLM and Antifa TOGETHER. Antifa is not even a group. Stop the hate and the lies. If u support tRump, fine but don’t come for us unless we come for you and quit making up lies. Try peace people.
People should pray that “parades” is all New Braunfels goes through. Many business owners have lost their life’s work because of “peaceful protests” burning their property. We are on the brink of something very dangerous..especially if the progressives lose this election.
Ben Franklin said “A republic if you can keep it” pray that we indeed keep it..
People should be allowed to express free speech and conduct peaceful protests according to the constitution. Black lives DO matter, but a lot of people (including some African Americans) don’t agree with the violence that has been associated with the movement. Dragging a flag on the back of a truck didn’t physically hurt anyone. Do I think it’s appropriate? No, of course not. But that individual has the right to express their viewpoint. New Braunfels is a peaceful place. In every group, race, religion and culture there are people who do bad things, but that doesn’t mean everyone in the group does bad things. No matter what your political views, always be kind and respectful. We can’t expect to be respected if we aren’t respectful. I pray for everyone.
This is one of the best most thorough articles I’ve seen on the subject.
This is disgusting behavior .. if they are just “supporting trump” why drag the black lives matter flag ? I am someone who is born and raised in new braunfels .. it’s these kinds of crazy people who make the city not worth living in anymore .why don’t they meet at one of the 400 peoples house that are in this dumb train.. because they want to try and scare the community .. it’s the city’s fault for allowing car clubs infront of heb on walnut and now this in Creekside …now let’s just say someone decides to be respectful back towards them or any of the local gang members decide to take it upon their hands there should be NO conversation about it right?? This is the most disrespectful,ignorant, inhumane thing the City can allow And with behavior like this it’s only a matter of time until the people of this city , take action into their own hands
What behavior is “disgusting”? Driving around in support of the President of our country or the alleged use of racial slurs? Why is the “Trump train “ “dumb” ? You spoke on “peaceful protest and citizens and gang meme bees taking matters into their own hands.” What’s that about? Are you inciting violence? Why is it when Republicans show support for anything there is always a Democrat wanting to stop them? You sound miserable at life, at least your life. Seems you don’t like things people do that is not your mindset. At least that’s what I got from your message. Why don’t you go on the “trump train” and see what it’s really about before passing judgement. Have a professional debate and discuss your political differences. You may find there is common ground to be had.
So it is ok for liberals and BLM to loot and burn up cars and buildings and worse, burn our precious flag. But not for conservative people to drag a poster?????? How hypocritical
I wonder what the hundreds of people who gather for this event are praying for. I am confident that Jesus would not condone much of this behavior. His message is one of kindness and acceptance. There doesn’t seem to be much of those attributes being exercised here.
You are dead wrong about the people that gather for these events. Before you speak ill of these people why don’t you come out to meet them so you can see the truth.
These are the same liberals complaining that think it’s ok to burn American flags, riot in the streets and call all cops bastards. But, drag a blm flag and their suddenly offended. After this article, the Trump Train will get bigger and bigger!
I wonder how many of you would be brave enough to take the drive to the Southeast side of San Antonio?
Why don’t the Republican party members and the Democratic Party members just strangle each other and the winners will be tabulated after the body count I think you guys in Comal County really need to have your water checked I think you have way too much fluoride and mercury in your drinking water, just saying.
If the “Trump Train” participants are serious about this ONLY being their way of showing support for Trump, then they need to remove the flag dragger from their “parades”. There should be no room for hate or racism during these “parades”. You are only hurting your cause by allowing participants to display their racism. Yes, everyone has free speech, however, what you do not have is freedom form the repercussions of that free speech. Dragging a Black Lives Matter flag beneath one’s vehicle is a reminder to others that people of color have been dragged behind vehicles until they were dead, hung from trees, and had another person kneel anther necks until they died, and other atrocities simply because of the color of their skin. It’s a disgusting horrid thing for New Braunfels to be known for. If their is a silent majority in this town it is those of use who see this and can’t believe that KKK parades are still happening in 2020. Still so far to go all these decades after the Civil Rights Movement started. Sad and Pathetic.
Excellent comment. NB should not be known for racism. It is this behavior that creates a terrible image of a community that is full of decent, faith based friends and family.
New Braunfels civic leaders need to step up and condemn this behavior immediately!!
New Braunfels property values will be plummeting, if they haven’t already. Hate doesn’t sell well to prospective home buyers.
Yuck! Never going to New Braunfels again. Ignorant, disgusting city with uneducated people.
It’s not all of us! New Braunfels has wonderful, inclusive people. Those who create fear in others does not represent us all.
We just moved here in 2018 but, had I seen this “train” first I would never have moved here! Despite what Mr. Ceh states, I don’t think that 99% of the people in NB agrees with him and it’s very divisive for him to state that “the liberals will always lie and exaggerate everything.” How are we as a community going to go forward after the election?
Fear is what I feel every time they have an Antifa and BLM rally. Justice Department has declared Antifa a Domestic Terrorist organization. And you complain about dragging their flag? But under the 1st amendment you’re OK with burning a U.S. Flag?
Only a Communist who has bought into the Victimization game would complain about that. And two of the Founders of BLM are producing videos proudly stating they are “Trained Marxists”. And you support that? Give me a break. What you are really worried about is that Law and Order and the Silent Majority are going to win out and keep America the Great Country it has once again become.
Socialist Communists can move on to overthrow some other country!!!
The NB Trump Train is meant to be a positive, patriotic gathering to support President Trump. I am a member and would never incite any type of violence or racism, nor would I tolerate it if I saw it. Any person of color is welcome in our group and are treated with respect. We ask that you show us respect as well!
The justice department has NOT declared Antifa a domestic terrorist organization. Either you forgot to fact-check, or you are ok with spreading lies. Antifa stands for anti-fascist, which all of America was until recently.
We are by far doing what Antifa orBLM DO, how many buildings have we burned, how many officers have we attacked, how many innocent African Americans have we killed like Antifa and B java done?
Tell me please.
Wow, looks like all the deranged liberals showed up to comment. The doctor mentioned in this article is a BLM supporter & showed up for their “protest” in NB. But while Antifa/BLM are burning American flags & buildings, rioting, killing people who don’t agree with them, not a peep of condemnation from a single liberal democrat/marxist commenting here. But when someone deigns to drag a flag of Antifa/BLM (terrorist organizations) under a truck, well, they’ll show up in droves for that. You people are what is wrong with our country.
You may wanna read this to know the difference: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/drawing-distinctions-antifa-the-alt-right-and-black-lives-matter/538320.
And I am black so of course I believe my life matters and the life of my son and husband as well. The stats support that there are inequities. But as (I’m assuming) a white male or female, I wouldn’t expect you to understand. Since you do not want all black americans and people of color to blame all police on the bad acts of some or compare the trump parades to klan rallies because one guy had a black lives matter flag dragging like Jame Byrd Jr and on social media has said that he was openly racist and yet didn’t call his behavior out, don’t associate us with antifa and one of the original black lives matter organization founders. It was founded 6 years ago and the article posted is that old as well. I also don’t believe that you have enough people who don’t think like you politically in your life to know what people of a different political preference think or post about not condoning violence and with that judgmental attitude, you never will.
I was in-site by the Trump Train. They did NOT have any LEOs there going over anything. Two. The person with the BLM glad has openly called himself a racist and said derogatory things about the Black community. Third. I have also witnessed, on more than one occasion, the “train” going through traffic signals and stop signs. Our LEOs are turning their eyes on what these people are doing. So the majority of what Mr Ceh said is a flat out lie. Also, blaming this on liberals is a typical far right ploy. Blame everyone and you do no harm. These people are a disgrace and defending the person with the BLM flag automatically outs yourself as a white supremacist. These people make me sick.
400 Vehicles and 100s of folks lining the roadway peacefully and you manage to make a NEGATIVE Headline out of 1 vehicle exercising his Constitutional right to free Speech.
Terrible Reporting Stephen Johnson! I cant wait to see how you BLAST the Trump Boat Parade this weekend!
The reality is we can’t feel safe – not people of color, not anyone who isn’t on the “train.” We are avoiding NB now because as it’s profile rises nationally for this kind of hate it will attract more of the same.
So you are saying Im dangerous to the community for loving my country and president. Your lumping me in with one person? Judge much ? Seems you do.
This motorcade parade needs better supervision. Dragging a blm flag on the ground is a safety hazard and it sends a symbolic message of dragging a black man through the dirt. This should have been stopped immediately.
It is acceptable to show support for the President. It is not acceptable to send hate filled messages in attacking another group. This is starting to get out of control and does not speak well of New Braunfels as a community.
Bobby, do you watch the news? Do you see what BLM is doing to our country? All of that negativity which BLM represents is awful and I can’t stand it. Please use your energy towards those guys. NB is not going to hell in a hand basket. Businesses are doing great, real estate, etc. maybe you’d rather live in tent city’s since it’s soooo terrible in NB.
So sad, that this type of behavior represents New Braunfels! The trump supporters will always create divisiveness and intimidate citizens. Where are our leaders? Are they turning the other cheek? Are we another Portland?
There is major frustration from the silent majority. Where are the community leaders on this is a very good question. The world is changing and as I suspect this Nov will reflect that
The sleeping baby aside…that issue was addressed at the start of this weeks ride and will be again so we don’t disturb the resident. However as far as BLM and ANTIFA sympathizers…you should worry. Your organizations are an affront to law and order. We had all races attending…it’s not a racial thing…it’s a anti law enforcement, anti American thing. Black residents have zero reason to fair. But we’re done apologizing. That ship sailed when those groups chose to burn US cities.
fighting fire with fire is not ok. thats disgusting. vile. you’re not proving anything by dragging flags and disturbing people and threatening them. if you didnt like antifa then stop doing the exact same thing theyre doing for opposite reasons.