Robert Truax Jr., 20, pleaded guilty on April 4 to throwing the balloons, a misdemeanor charge, telling the court: “I did what I had to do.”
“Actions are going to be louder than words these days,’’ Truax, grinning, told reporters after the court appearance in Grand Rapids, according to WZZM. “Try to get three water balloons out this time. I only got out two.’’
Truax recorded himself saying he’d purchased the balloons from a Dollar Tree and that he was taking them to the March 28 rally at Van Andel Arena to hit Trump supporters. “Like you can’t be coming to my block supporting some Donald Trump [expletive]. So you about to get hit,” he said in the clip, which he posted to YouTube.
A Grand Rapids man who admitted to tossing water balloons
into a crowd of Donald Trump supporters pleaded guilty Thursday to creating a disturbance. Robert Truax Jr., 20, says he might even do it again. “Actions are going to be louder than words these days,’’ he said. @wzzm13 pic.twitter.com/6CsEbnLlYL
— John Hogan (@JohnHoganWZZM) April 4, 2019
Outside court, he told reporters: “I was trying to stand up for the people who are just against the president. In a way his supporters are just like him. I did what I had to do.’’
Truax changed his tune in court on May 8, he pledged not to throw balloons at Trump supporters again.
“It’s something I don’t plan on doing again,” he told Grand Rapids District Judge Beverly Schaefer, according to MLive.
Schaefer said that’s what she wanted to hear, telling the man that throwing the balloons could have sparked a riot.
Man who threw water balloons at President Trump’s Grand Rapids rally won’t do again, he says https://t.co/J9JN5Kigrm
— MLive (@MLive) May 8, 2019
“You never know how a person may react,” she said, adding that people hit by balloons wouldn’t know what was inside.
The judge sentenced Truax to one day in jail, with credit for a day already served, six months or probation, $875 in fines, and 60 hours on a work crew.
He didn’t tell reporters why he changed his mind.
In April, he had told reporters that Malcolm X, a violent civil rights figure who was assassinated in 2965, provided inspiration, according to WZZM.
“I mean, people are always going to bring down the negative side of people speaking up and doing something,’’ he said. “Just like Malcolm X. Some people consider that man a very violent person, but in a way, I do believe he did something right.’’
Truax started a GoFundMe fundraising page after being arrested, asking supporters for financial support.
“Here is a page i’m making for the fines i’m going to have to pay,” he wrote. “I would appreciate if you can donate. as well don’t hate that water got [sic] on you wear a long sleeve. If you’re wondering why the donation is so high i’m trying to make a buisnesss so i would appreciate anything you can give thank you.”