Tensions Escalating at D.C. Rally After New Comments by President Trump Irk Some Truckers
Washington D.C. – President Donald Trump is doubling down on claims that the truckers rallying in Washington D.C. are doing so in support of him, and it’s not sitting well with some.
On Friday, during a press conference from the Rose Garden at the White House announcing a new initiative to expedite the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, big rig horns could be heard sounding prominently in the background.
Truckers slowly convoyed along Constitution Avenue sounding yet another mayday call to the President while other protesters stood in the street holding signs.
At one point, the horns became so loud President Trump addressed it.
“You hear that outside. That beautiful sound. Those are truckers that are with us all the way,” he said. “They’re protesting in favor of President Trump as opposed to against. There’s hundreds of trucks out there and that’s the sign of love not the sign of your typical protest.”
He continued his remarks, “So, I want to thank our great truckers. They like me and I like them. We’re working on something together.”
In an interview on Thursday with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business, President Trump also addressed the group of truckers continuing to demonstrate in our nation’s capital.
While answering a question about America’s strained relationship with China due to the COVID-19 pandemic, big rig horns could be heard blaring in the background.
Mr. Trump pointed out the sound and then sounded off about it.
“Do you hear all that honking? You know what that is? That’s trucks. They love their president,” he said.
Puzzled a bit, Bartiromo responded, “Trucking protesters, right?”
“Well they’re not protesters. They’re supporters of me because we are getting things for the truckers, and all those great truckers that are all over the country,” the President replied. “They’re honking and they’re really very thankful that I’m President frankly, so when I hear the horns… there’s a thousand trucks outside. It’s great.”
It’s the latest in President Trump’s comments about the truckers demonstrating now in their fifteenth day.
Last Friday, President Trump was on Fox News proclaiming “truckers are great people” and indicating the rally participants were supporters of his administration.
“They like Trump,” he commented. “They’ve got Trump all over their trucks.”
On Wednesday, the President’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, met with a group of protesters along Constitution Avenue after demonstrations grew rowdy.
Truckers blocked all lanes of traffic along the roadway for approximately 30 minutes in an effort to get the White House’s attention.
Meadows promised the group they would see action on federal hours of service (HOS) rules within the week.
On Thursday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) unveiled its long-awaited final rule which contains four key changes to existing rules.
Read more about it HERE.
Meadows also promised he would call U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and ask him to look into alleged freight broker abuses amid the national emergency.
The Chief of Staff to Mr. Trump gave his email address to one of the group’s leaders, Mike Landis, founder of the United States Transportation Alliance (USTA).
Landis informed Transportation Nation Network (TNN) on Thursday that he has had continued communication with Meadows.
Further, Landis indicated Meadows confirmed to him he phoned Attorney General Barr as he vowed he would.
However, social media has been lighting up over President Trump’s most recent comments especially given the nearly 15-minute conversation Meadows had with protesters outside the White House in which participants voiced a host of concerns about current working conditions for small business truckers.
A prominent long-time trucking activist, Charles Claburn, was among those sounding off on the entire situation and calling for more trucks to head to D.C.
“You’re a political toy! Placated and being used,” Claburn wrote to his Facebook followers. “You leave that street [and] it’s over. We need more trucks. They see us, now they need to hear us! There needs to be a clear ultimatum sent by this industry they have 6 weeks to deliver the promises, if not in writing, then it’s time to do it right. Get to D.C. [and] build a force they can’t remove!”
Another leader of the rally, Janet Sanchez, also responded by urging President Trump to meet with the group.
“President Trump, this is not a parade for you and it’s not to support you. It’s for you to come out and support us. We need you,” she said during a Facebook LIVE video on Friday.
However, not everyone is taking President Trump’s comments offensively.
Lisa Schmitt, along with her husband Lee, host the popular weekly radio show, “Trucking Across America with the Schmitts.”
The two of them have been attending the rally this week.
She tells TNN she didn’t take the President’s comments as a “cut.”
“Maybe he used it to get the media enraged enough to actually cover our issues,” she conjectured. “If drivers could get 15 minutes of his time we could get our point across to him.”
Another social media commenter, Nelly Alfonso, attributed the President’s comments to a misunderstanding.
“The President is very confused,” Alfonso wrote. “Yes this is a protest for the truckers rights. Yes the truckers are with you, BUT you are NOT seeing them!!!! We need more TRUCKS in D.C. pls!!!!!”
As for Landis, he says the majority of truckers rallying in D.C. are planning to stay for the foreseeable future despite the newly opened lines of dialogue with the President’s Chief of Staff.
In fact, many participants are calling for more truckers to join the rally in the coming days.
Further, he says the overarching goal of the ongoing demonstrations has now become making sure drivers with real over-the-road experience get a seat at the table and more influence in the federal rulemaking process.
“I think the biggest goal we should have right now is we need to have drivers involved in anything that has to do with transportation,” he declared.
Stay with TransportationNation.com for the latest developments.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Schmitt
WATCH President Trump’s press conference below.
He makes the remarks about truckers beginning at 12:44.