A Donald Trump-supporting couple who joined a “Trump Train” convoy tailing a Biden-Harris campaign bus on I-35 between Austin and San Antonio, Texas, a matter of days before their candidate lost the 2020 election, have apologized as part of a settlement.
Protect Democracy, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and the law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, who represent the plaintiffs, announced Thursday that Hannah Ceh and Kyle Kruger have apologized for their actions as the civil case against six other defendants continues on.
The plaintiffs, Eric Cervini, Wendy Davis, David Gins, and Timothy Holloway — “respectively, a volunteer, surrogate, staffer, and contractor for the Biden-Harris Campaign” — sued under Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, alleging that the defendants had undertaken a “modern-day conspiracy to intimidate voters in trucks in the light of day in the same way that the law outlawed intimidation while hooded on horseback in the dark of night in 1871.”
“Defendants violated the Klan Act and Texas law,” the suit argued. “Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit to obtain a remedy for the injuries Plaintiffs suffered as a result of Defendants’ unlawful conspiracy, in which they were literally, and forcefully, driven out of town for their political beliefs.”
The lawsuit said that the day the “Trump Train” swarmed the Biden-Harris bus was “the last day of early voting for the presidential election in Texas,” when “supporters of the Biden-Harris Campaign intended to campaign at various political events across central Texas.”
Those plans were dashed, the suit said.
“The participants in the Trump Train deliberately upended those plans. The Trump Train vehicles surrounded the Biden-Harris Campaign bus on the highway, forced it to slow down to a crawl, came within inches of the bus, and, as one of the drivers later bragged, ‘slamm[ed]’ into a staffer’s follow car,” the lawsuit said. “Those on the bus feared injury or for their lives. All suffered lingering trauma in the days and months thereafter.”
Though the settlement details were not revealed, Hannah Ceh and Kyle Kruger did apologize, according to the plaintiffs.
Ceh recalled joyously texting “we canceled them” after the social media-coordinated “Trump Train” surrounded the Biden-Harris bus, and said she doesn’t feel like she “was thinking things through” that day:
On October 30, 2020, I was a passenger in a truck driving as part of a ‘Trump Train’ on Interstate 35 Highway between Austin and San Antonio, Texas. I learned about the Trump Train group planning to meet ahead of time from social media and communicated through social media and text about when a Trump Train group would be meeting up to go after the Biden-Harris campaign bus as it drove through our community. While riding as a passenger in a truck that was participating in the Trump Train by driving closely to the Biden campaign bus, I took videos that I later posted to social media. In a post I used the hashtag ‘operation block the bus,’ which I felt at the time described how the Trump Train vehicles surrounded the Biden campaign bus while it drove down the highway. We continued to drive along with the other Trump Train vehicles surrounding the bus to Austin because we wanted to stay with the other members of our group as they drove. After the Biden campaign abandoned the rest of their bus tour I sent a text saying that ‘we canceled them,’ as at the time I felt we had succeeded in our efforts to send a message that the Biden campaign bus should not stop for any more events in Texas because it was not supported by our community or welcome in it. Looking back, I would have done things differently. I do not feel that I was thinking things through at the time, and I apologize to the occupants of the bus for my part in actions that day that frightened or intimidated them.
Kruger, identified in the lawsuit as Ceh’s boyfriend, said that he, too, learned about the “Trump Train” from social media and regrets “participating in such risky activity.”
On October 30, 2020, I drove in a group of vehicles in a ‘Trump Train’ on Interstate 35 Highway between Austin and San Antonio, Texas. I learned from social media and other participants where a Trump Train group planned to meet ahead of time to go after the Biden-Harris campaign bus as it drove through our part of Texas. I drove to that Trump Train gathering, where I found out from others when and where the bus was going to be. We intentionally drove close to the bus from New Braunfels to Austin to make sure we achieved our objective: that they got our message that we opposed what the Biden campaign stood for and that we did not want them in our community or our state. As part of my participation in the Trump Train, I drove in ways that posed some risk to the Biden campaign bus, its passengers, and others on the road. I knew that my driving was risky, but I wanted to express my opposition to their campaign and send them a message to leave my community. While I regret now participating in such risky activity, and apologize to the occupants of the bus for my part in the actions that day, at the time I and other Trump Train participants were happy that, after our actions, the Biden campaign canceled the rest of the bus tour.
The lawsuit said that Kruger was behind the wheel of a white Toyota Tundra pickup with the driver’s side window down.
“A backseat passenger of the vehicle was hanging out of the window, screaming,” the suit said, just before including the exhibit of Kruger’s truck displayed at the top of this story.
“At some points,” the suit said, Kruger moved the truck from the right of the bus to the left of the bus and “began driving dangerously close to the bus.”
Hannah Ceh was in the vehicle at the time as well, the suit said.
The remaining defendants are Eliazar Cisneros, Randi Ceh, Steve Ceh — Hannah Ceh’s parents, identified as “two leaders of the New Braunfels Trump Train” — Joeylnn Mesaros, Robert Mesaros, and Dolores Park.
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