Culture / Newsy

Donald Trump Tweet Truck Rolls Through Texas, Taunting Ted Cruz With Vision of Bitter Past: Latino Activist and Parkland Shooting Survivor Team Up on Mobile Mission

BY // 10.05.18

We’ve got a new tongue twister out there for you, courtesy of political digs and social activism. Want to hear it?

Trump tweet truck taunts Ted Cruz. Try saying that five times fast.

You see, a unique advertisement has been taken out on a 22-foot billboard truck, just in time for the closing push in the Senate race between Cruz and Beto O’Rourke — arguably the most publicized Senate battle in the entire country. The brazen, bold truck has been making the rounds of the Lone Star State. It’s been spotted everywhere from Houston to Arlington to Dallas.

There’s nothing subtle about the selected Trump tweet, which comes from February 2016. It dates back to when Cruz was vying with Trump for the Republican presidential nomination — a time when the men were bitter rivals.

“Why would the people of Texas support Ted Cruz when he has accomplished absolutely nothing for them. He is another all talk no action pol!” the Trump tweet reads — in blown-up giant letters on the sides of the truck. Other features of the truck include the Twitter logo and a mammoth photo of Trump’s famous squint.

In case anyone forgot about that tweet after Trump endorsed Cruz for the Senate seat, there’s a mobile reminder rolling through Texas.

Let's Rodeo Houston!

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If you think this is a Beto-directed blast, think again. Houston-based Latino community organizer and voter mobilization group member Antonio Arellano and young Parkland shooting survivor and gun reform activist David Hogg teamed up on the advertisement. The bottom left of the sign reads “Paid for by MadDogPac.com and USA Latinx.”

It all started with Trump’s 180 on Cruz, when he tweeted that he wanted to host a rally for the incumbent senator in the largest stadium in Texas. Arellano wanted to call his bluff.

“I found out the largest stadium was Kyle Field Stadium in College Station. The original concept was to put up a billboard. I don’t believe President Trump is going to College Station,” Arellano tells PaperCity. In Arellano’s view, the sign would have served as a sign of the broken promise and to “showcase how sensationalistic his tweets are.”

After seeing a tweet from Hogg, Arellano decided to reach out and try to take their message on the road. It started out with a GoFundMe campaign. The initial ask? $6,000.

“Together, we raised close to $10,000 in 24 hours. It’s a huge testament to how much of a disconnect exists between Texas and their senator,” Arellano says.

Arellano has been posting images and videos to Twitter of the truck as it makes the rounds, accompanied by the hashtag #TrumpTweetTruck.

“There has been a significant amount of positive feedback online through the hashtag,” Arellano says. “People have been able to be part of the experience. A lot of people saw the truck and said ‘That made my day.’ ”

Some reactions haven’t been quite so positive.

“One instance stands out. Just last Sunday our mobile billboard was actually stopped by a gentleman in a vehicle on Westheimer right outside The Galleria,” Arellano says. “He appeared to be frustrated or disagreed with our message. He engaged in some sort of road rage.”

The man pulled up in front of the truck, tying to block it, but the tweet truck driver safely maneuvered around him.

The Social Media Wars

Arellano is taking advantage of the impact social media has on our society, and increasingly in politics.

“We’re embracing a new approach in innovating what the future of this country looks like,” he says. “This approach was very much an effort to engage a younger demographic. We feel that we’ve been successful in that.

“We want to make sure that everybody realizes that this moment we’re currently living in is of historic proportions.”

Social media is especially valuable to Arellano because of demographics in Harris County and Houston. “Right now we know that 50 percent of all Texans under the age of 18 are Latino,” he notes. “We’re ready to engage them and mobilize them.”

One thing’s for sure. Arellano and Hogg have definitely brought a whole new meaning to mobilize.

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