Something is horribly wrong if a 150-year-old federal law aimed at protecting the public against the Ku Klux Klan can so appropriately be used against a former President of the United States and his minions. Signed by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1871, the Ku Klux Klan Act criminalized the use of “force, intimidation, or threat” with certain core rights, including the right to vote and hold office. This act is now the legal basis for a new lawsuit against the Trump cult—and it’s not even the first time.
Former Texas state senator Wendy David, Biden-Harris campaign staffer David Gins, bus driver Timothy Holloway, and volunteer Eric Cervini filed a federal lawsuit over an incident on October 30, days before President Joe Biden quashed Trump’s hopes for reelection. As the Biden-Harris campaign bus traveled to its next stop, dozens of cars flying Trump flags coordinated “to intercept and intimidate the bus” in four counties, according to the complaint. Many of the Trump supporters were armed, according to Cervini.
After news spread that a “Trump Train,” as the MAGA bandits called it, tried to force the Biden-Harris campaign bus off the road, Trump tweeted video footage and declared, “I LOVE TEXAS!” Trump also praised the drivers, calling them “patriots” who “did nothing wrong.” Invoking the Ku Klux Klan Act, the complaint argues that the Trump Train’s goal was to scare the Biden-Harris campaign. Indeed, the ambush caused the rest of the tour to be cancelled as the plaintiffs feared for their lives and experienced severe anxiety.
In February, House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Bennie G. Thompson filed a lawsuit against Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers claiming they violated the Ku Klux Klan Act by inciting riots to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s electoral victory. Not surprisingly, some of the Trump Train’s participants were also involved with the January 6 insurrection, according to the new lawsuit.
The broader Trump Train has been careening off the rails for a long time, threatening mayhem while pursuing destruction. Trump lost the presidency on November 3, then helped Republicans lose the Senate on January 5. On January 6, the Trump name became indelibly associated with the word insurrection as innocent people lost their life and urine and feces desecrated the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol.
As 2021 marches on, guided by President Biden’s and the Democrats’ leadership, the list of investigations and lawsuits against Trump and friends mount while the pace of progress toward accountability quickens. The Trump Train is still chugging along, but at this point it’s running on fumes. Next stop: prison.