An Austin man caused quite the controversy on social media after posting pictures of charter buses on Twitter saying they were used to bus in anti-Trump protesters. But he said he got it wrong, and has since deleted it.
The tweet was pictures of buses with the caption "Anti-Trump protestors in Austin today are not as organic as they seem. Here are the busses they came in. #fakeprotests #Trump2016 #Austin"
Before Eric Tucker took the tweet down Friday, it had nearly 17,000 retweets and became part of a national controversy. "I thought going on Twitter was not a big deal, I thought, I have 40 followers, I post twice a year on Twitter, I'm not a professional blogger at all," Tucker said.
Tucker said seeing a bunch of charter buses lined up on 5th Street near Waller on Wednesday, coincidentally around the same time an anti-Trump rally was being held in downtown Austin he said was unusual. So he took to Twitter with the claims the buses were being used to ship in protesters. "I hadn't really fact checked at all, it was just all kind of circumstantial and then before I know it, it's a story, I am over 10,000 tweets by the next day.
Within 24 hours, President-elect Donald Trump also took to Twitter about professional protesters and said "Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!" "I kind of felt like maybe I am in reasonable company, maybe I'm not wrong," Tucker said.
But when people started questioning Tuckers claim, so did he. Turns out the buses were being used as hotel shuttles for the Tableau Conference being held at the Austin Convention Center. "Was I wrong in this case, yes I was," Tucker said.
But for many, they believed it was part of a national conspiracy that anti-Trump protesters are being recruited and paid. Tucker said it's a lesson learned for the more than 16,000 who retweeted it. "I don't want to speculate too much, but I do think that it does speak to sort of shallowness of this current election cycle." And a lesson learned for him. "I'll be more careful, especially if I know that it's going to be picked up by this many people."
Tucker wrote on his blog and said he would like to express his sincere apologies to anyone who felt misled and his intentions have always been for the best. He also said he hoped this will keep a constructive and positive conversation going.