President Trump Weighs Meeting With Truckers Rallying in D.C. as Pleas for Help Intensify
Washington D.C. – Truckers continue their rally in Washington D.C. this weekend with the hopes of securing a meeting with President Donald Trump, but could it really happen?
On Saturday, more than 100 big trucks remain parked on Constitution Avenue near the South Lawn of the White House.
Small business truckers from around the country traveled to our nation’s capital on Friday to publicly voice their concerns about the state of working conditions for professional drivers which has been made even more challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yesterday, beginning at 8 a.m. local time, drivers sounded their horns each hour, on the hour, in a dramatic show of solidarity.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) reported on Friday that the demonstration prompted the White House to send out a liaison to speak with event leaders.
Timothy Williams, Principal Deputy Director for the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs (pictured below), spoke with multiple rally participants on two different occasions during the day.
Two of those Williams spoke with were Scott Jordan and Fred Bowerman.
Both are well known in the grassroots trucking community.
Jordan has been a trucker for the last decade and Bowerman is organizer of the 10-4 on D.C. rally held each year in the fall on the National Mall.
Both men confirmed to TNN that Williams relayed the President’s interest to meet with organizers in order to hear and better understand their concerns.
“The opportunity to go and meet with the President is pretty overwhelming,” Jordan stated. “I’m just going to sit here and be patient.”
Bowerman says since word has spread that President Trump may meet with organizers face-to-face, other truckers, including drivers who demonstrated in Chicago, IL on Friday, are now headed to D.C.
“I’ve got five of my friends who demonstrated in Chicago on their way,” Bowerman exclaimed. “We need drivers and anyone who can come support drivers here.”
Another rally leader, Rick Santiago, tells TNN he is “hopeful” President Trump will answer truckers’ pleas for help this time.
Santiago’s recent social media videos to expose “exploitative” business practices deployed by big brokers quickly went viral within the trucking community.
The explosive allegations made in the videos resulted in established brokerage firms such as Total Quality Logistics (TQL) and Trinity Logistics issuing exclusive statements to TNN in defense of its reputations.
Read TNN’s full report on this story HERE.
Even the head of the largest association for third party logistics (3PL) companies issued an unprecedented statement on Thursday pushing back against critics’ claims of broker “abuse” amid the worsening COVID-19 recession.
Read more on this story HERE.
Where Does The U.S. Department of Transportation Stand?
On Thursday, just one day before many frustrated truckers participated in demonstrations in cities across the country, Elaine Chao, Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), issued a video message hailing drivers as “true American heroes.”
“You have been on the front lines keeping our shelves stocked and delivering life-saving medical equipment where they are needed,” Secretary Chao said. “During this crisis, you continue to go above and beyond the call of duty mile after mile, day after day. The Department is on the job 24/7 doing everything we can to help you.”
TNN reached out to the DOT on Friday to find out if the Department and Secretary Chao was seeking to help secure a meeting between the President and the concerned truckers who invested the time and expense to make the trip.
A spokesperson with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) responded but declined to address our inquiry directly.
Instead, the Agency directed us to Secretary Chao’s most recent statement thanking truckers.
On Saturday, we once again inquired with the FMCSA for comment on the rallies and demonstrations around the country and if the Agency would encourage the President to meet with Washington D.C. rally organizers.
At time of publishing, we have not heard back, but will certainly update this story should new information become available.
Will He or Won’t He?
Despite the overtures made by the White House, truckers watched as President Trump departed aboard Marine One on Friday afternoon en route to Camp David for a working weekend.
The President is due back in D.C. on Sunday to participate in a Town Hall event to be hosted by Fox News.
The question each trucker parked in Mr. Trump’s backyard — and the many thousands of Americans supporting them — is asking is, “Will the President sit down and listen to our concerns?”
TNN can confirm that as of Saturday, no meeting has yet been scheduled, and event organizers have had no further communication with the White House.
The group intends to remain in Washington until Monday.
TransportationNation.com will continue to bring you the latest on this story.
Read the latest UPDATE on this story at this link, published May 3 @ 11:00 p.m. CST: President Trump Gives Gifts to Truckers Rallying in D.C., Says “I’m With TRUCKERS”
Photos courtesy of Scott Jordan