President Trump’s Chief of Staff Promises Action on H.O.S., Brokers on Day 13 of D.C. Rally
Washington D.C. – Day 13 of the trucker rally in Washington D.C. was at times raucous, but could just be the most consequential yet.
The truckers rallying in our nation’s capital turned up the intensity in their demonstrations on Wednesday.
At about noon, a group of truckers slow rolled down Constitution Avenue and blocked all lanes of traffic for approximately 30 minutes.
Rally participants stood in the street holding signs that read “Brokers Can’t Make More Money Than Truckers” and “We Want Broker Transparency,” while chanting “We want Trump! We want Trump!”
By mid-afternoon videos were flooding social media revealing the surreal scene.
What’s more, rally leaders were calling on participants to continue these demonstration tactics until their voices were heard.
“We’ve been here 13 days and its time to step up our game,” Shawn Mcintosh, a rally organizer told Transportation Nation Network (TNN). “We need to be acknowledged. We don’t want hats and t-shirts. We want solutions to these problems.”
Frustration among those in the group had been growing in recent days as rally leaders had not heard from the White House in more than a week.
President Donald Trump initially indicated he was interested in meeting with the group which gave many hope they would be able to speak directly to him.
Rally leaders vowed they would not leave until they secured a meeting.
Mcintosh says he continues to be in close contact with law enforcement to ensure things don’t escalate “over the line,” but he acknowledged they were getting close to it on Wednesday.
In a move intended to diffuse some of the tension, President Trump sent Mark Meadows, White House Chief of Staff, out to the street to visit with the group at approximately 7 p.m.
“My message to you is not only has the President heard your request, but he wants us to get something done about it,” Meadows said. “I wouldn’t be here right now if you didn’t have the President’s attention and support.”
During the course of the nearly 15-minute discussion with multiple people in the group, Meadows indicated he spoke with Secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT) Elaine Chao on Tuesday.
“We are going to work diligently to see if we can do something to provide some relief,” he informed.
Specifically, Meadows seemed to address hours of service (HOS) reform which the FMCSA sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review in early March.
Saying the current rules are “tough on the independent truckers,” Meadows promised “you’ll see action on that within the week.”
It is unclear if he was referring to this or the FMCSA’s latest extension of its historic HOS exemption which the Agency also announced today.
Click HERE to read more on the latest HOS extension.
Meadows also addressed the growing controversy over low freight rates being offered to small business truckers amid the national emergency.
President Trump blew the issue wide-open last Friday in a nationally televised interview on Fox News in which he said he believed truckers were being “price gouged.”
Meadows echoed those sentiments today.
“We are looking at transparency and making sure there is nothing there from a gouging standpoint. At the same time it’s a complex issue that honestly has surfaced in a real way right now because of everything that’s going on,” he said.
Additionally, Meadows was asked about a possible U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into freight brokers.
The Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) has been in contact with the DOJ over alleged antitrust and price-fixing violations on the part of some brokers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, DOJ officials have privately indicated they are seeking evidence of such violations before opening any official probe.
“I will call the Attorney General of the United States, Bill Barr, as soon as I get back to the office and ask him to look at it,” Meadows vowed.
Finally, Meadows gave his personal email address to Mike Landis, CEO and founder of the United States Transportation Alliance (USTA).
He told those gathered around that he would communicate with Landis in the coming days and weeks to ensure the group’s concerns were heard and addressed.
It is unclear at this time if the rally will come to a conclusion or begin to wind down tomorrow following today’s events.
We have spoken to multiple participants who indicated they are likely going to end their time in D.C. in the next day or two.
“I’m proud of everybody that stood their ground for 13 days,” Jeremy Johnson, another rally organizer said. “I think we made a very large statement.”
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow this story closely.