President Trump Expresses Concern About ELD Mandate in Secret Recording
Washington D.C. – President Trump expressed concerns about the negative impacts of the electronic logging devices (ELD) mandate at a 2018 private dinner hosted for campaign donors, according to a newly released secret recording.
As the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump continues to be waged in the United States Senate, a new recording reportedly captured on April 30, 2018 during a private dinner for campaign supporters, is shedding insight into the President’s thinking on numerous trucking issues.
The almost 90-minute video was released by an attorney for Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born businessman who, along with his associate Igor Fruman, pledged to donate more than $1 million to America First Action, a pro-Trump super PAC.
Parnas and Fruman claimed to have been in attendance at the dinner hosted at the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C.
Fruman is the one who allegedly made the recording before turning it over to Parnas, according to Parnas’ attorney Joseph Bondy.
Why Was The Recording Released?
Parnas and Fruman are each under indictment by New York federal prosecutors alleging the two men previously violated campaign-finance laws.
They have pleaded not guilty.
However, Parnas recently agreed to cooperate with the U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment investigation into President Trump.
As part of that cooperation, Parnas agreed to turn over the secret recording to Democratic House managers.
While the authenticity of the recording has not yet been confirmed, the White House did not deny it’s legitimacy in a recent statement.
President Trump Talks ELDs, Autonomous Trucks, and More
The entire recording was released over the weekend and a voice alleged to be President Trump’s can be heard discussing trucking issues such as the impact of the ELD mandate, the so-called “driver shortage,” the viability of autonomous trucks, and more.
At approximately the 1:06:00 mark, an unidentified gentleman (Donor A), who is presumably a shipper, can be heard explaining to Mr. Trump the challenges he is experiencing.
Donor A says,
We could be doing more business, but you can’t get trucks and there’s two reasons why. So, Mr. President while trucking, it’s a tough job to go into. So, that’s number one and they made it a lot tougher with e-logs. So e-logs limits… any time the wheel turns in a truck it’s part of the log for the day that’s a fourteen hour day. Let’s say if some one is half an hour from home in their truck and their a long-haul trucker, they literally have to pull over on the side of the road and stop. They can’t go home. So they don’t even want to do it anymore. So we have people who don’t want to go into the trucking business and we can’t get enough drivers to haul our product around the country.
A voice resembling President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., is heard asking,
Does a lot of this get solved with some of the automated…?
Before Don Jr. can finish his question, Donor A responds by saying,
Yes, but it’s a long ways away. You’re going to have pitch-and-catch, but you still need that last mile… you need some one there.
After a bit of cross-talk, President Trump asks,
You mean they can only drive so much? Like a pilot? I didn’t know that.
Donor A then explains the impact of the ELD mandate to the President as well as the limitations imposed by the hours of service (HOS) regulations.
He explains that if a trucker is found to be in violation of HOS, “he could be fined huge and actually done trucking.”
The President responds,
I never knew that. Can you buy an older truck so you don’t have that?
Donor A retorts by saying,
No, everything’s e-log.
President Trump then says,
I never knew that. That’s terrible!
After a bit more cross-talk about HOS rules, President Trump asks,
What happens if you have two drivers?
Donor A then explains that teams are “more expensive” and “rare.”
He says that transportation of his “material” has become among his top business concerns.
NOTE: According to guidance from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the ELD mandate exempts trucks equipped with model year 1999 engines and older from adhering to the law, regardless of the model year of the truck.
Moving further into the conversation, another unidentified gentlemen (Donor B) wants to discuss the emergence of autonomous trucks.
At approximately the 1:10:30 mark, Donor B pitches a proposal idea to President Trump that he believes could be a “solution” to Donor A’s problem.
I do think the government should do a 500-mile piece of road and dedicate a lane on both sides for autonomous trucks. Talk about a driver shortage… all the technology is there right now. There isn’t any reason to not have autonomous trucks other than putting them with the cars. You can’t put them with the cars.
President Trump questions Donor B as to why.
Donor B responds,
The insurance… the regulations… the states… the perception.
Mr. Trump then drops another big question.
How safe is autonomous?
Donor B reassures the President by saying,
It’s absolutely safe.
President Trump seemed to give the proposal credence by stating,
It’s an amazing concept.
You can watch and listen to the full recording below.