Michael Williams will have to get his hashbrown casserole somewhere else.
Williams, a Georgia Republican state senator and gubernatorial candidate, has been taking a “deportation bus” to campaign rallies across the state. But on Thursday, Cracker Barrel and several other restaurants where the bus is scheduled to stop told The Daily Beast that Williams’ campaign isn’t welcome.
The news came the same day the bus broke down — a setback Williams’ campaign manager blamed on the left.
The bus is painted with slogans like “Follow me to Mexico” and “Danger! Murderers, rapists, child molestors [sic], and other criminals on board.” In a video for his tour, which YouTube briefly took down Wednesday for violating its hate speech policy, Williams promises to “fill this bus with illegals to send them back to where they came from.”
Cracker Barrel, a Southern-style restaurant currently competing with Waffle House for the title of Most Ubiquitous on Georgia Highway Off-Ramps, isn’t thrilled to be part of his tour.
“We are not sponsoring this event or supporting Mr. Williams’ campaign stops in any way, and per our company policy, we will not allow him — or any political candidate –to host an event on Cracker Barrel’s property,” the company told The Daily Beast in a statement.
Williams can still eat at the restaurant, a spokesperson told The Daily Beast. But he can’t campaign. Cracker Barrel and several other restaurants told The Daily Beast that Williams’ campaign hasn’t returned their messages asking him not to host events on their property.
“We do not support Micheal Williams running for governor and he is banned from the parking lot,” one campaign stop, Brian’s Buffet, in Griffin, Georgia, said flatly.
Also on Thursday, the bus broke down on the side of Interstate 75 in Calhoun, Georgia, when water got into its fuel tank. It’s been repaired, the campaign said on Twitter, in a statement that blamed leftist protesters for the mechanical problems.
“We certainly would not blame this on ANTIFA [anti-fascist activists] or others who are openly plotting to damage or destroy the bus. We know the left would never stoop to such a pathetic low,” the statement read.
Before tweeting out the statement, Williams sent several tweets that appeared to show threats he received after the bus gained national media attention this week.
“It could be 100% more on fire though,” a person allegedly tweeted about the bus in one screenshot Williams shared.
Williams’ tour comes as President Donald Trump, who Williams vocally supports, has ratcheted up his rhetoric on undocumented immigrants. Last month, Trump said, without evidence, that Central American migrants headed to the U.S. were being “raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before.” And just this week, he appeared to conflate criminals and undocumented immigrants, calling them “animals.”
Five candidates will face off in Georgia’s Republican gubernatorial primary May 22. Williams is currently polling dead last.