The People’s Convoy rolled up to the Capitol rotunda Thursday with a guest in tow. Riding shotgun in the lead truck was Senator Ted Cruz. After his ride, Cruz held a press conference to voice his support for the protest against COVID-19 mandates.
The “People’s Convoy” has encircled the D.C. Beltway for five days. The fully vaccinated senator from Texas rode in the truck of co-organizer Mike Landis from Hagerstown, Maryland. Truckers from across the country have joined the convoy which originated in California. Cruz thanked Landis and fellow co-organizer, Brian Brase during the press conference.
Senator Ron Johnson joined Cruz Tuesday for a roundtable discussion at the Capitol. Later they met with Republican members of the House Transportation Committee. The truckers say they are staying in the area until their demands are met. They want to meet with more members of Congress and they want congressional hearings on the origins of the pandemic. They also want an investigation into state and federal COVID responses.
The demands of the truckers include rolling back the national state of emergency designation that was begun by Trump and an end to all existing vaccine mandates. This is where the timeliness of the convoy comes in. Most COVID restrictions have already been lifted around the country. Some states like Florida and Texas have maintained bans on mandates throughout the pandemic. Florida was the most free of mandates of all the states. Cruz promised to work on legislation to support the truckers if Republicans take control of Congress in November. The potential 2024 presidential candidate used the press conference to bring up other issues, too.
The senator took a swipe at Democrats and some Republican colleagues in the Senate over failed votes to end COVID restrictions like mandates for active-duty military, federal civilian employees, federal contractors and private-sector mandates through OSHA.
“I’m fighting to vote on it again… This shouldn’t be a partisan issue,” Cruz said. “This should be ‘leave me the hell alone.'”
“It is insane that you have the left and corporate media that tell you it’s wrong to ask for an ID to vote. That voter ID is a horrible, racist idea, which is nonsense. But at the same time, they demand, ‘show me your papers to lunch.’ That’s idiotic. That’s none of their damn business.”
A crowd member yelled at Cruz during the event, “You should run for president,” to which the senator responded: “Thank you.”
— The Hill (@thehill) March 11, 2022
Cruz’s ride with the convoy began at the Hagerstown Speedway. That is where the trucks are parked. Cruz spoke to the truckers and reassured them that their voices are being heard. He rode to Capitol Hill and stopped at the Peace Monument on the west side of the Capitol for the press conference.
“These policies are cruel and they are immoral and I think it is time to end them all and let people live their lives,” Cruz said outside the Capitol while the rest of the convoy circled the Beltway.
Co-founder Brian Brase said, “There ain’t no ignoring a senator riding in the lead truck. That’s basically an endorsement of what we’re doing.”
Brase wants the size of the convoy to grow.
“I’m proud to listen to these guys, to hear their passion, hear why they’re here, why they’re fighting, and I’m proud to stand with them,” Cruz said.
Cruz criticized the government’s response to the pandemic and urged the “People’s Convoy” to continue its work. Standing next to Cruz, Brase called on more truckers to join the protest.
“Doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you lean on, this is for everyone. This is for your personal freedoms,” Brase said.
Despite all the preparation for the convoy by Capitol Police and other law enforcement in the area, including an emergency declaration and temporary fencing put up at the Capitol, there have been no major incidents reported other than some traffic congestion. One pickup driver was issued a warning Thursday for impeding the flow of traffic on Interstate 270 in Montgomery County. There was never any indication that the convoy would turn violent and warrant the extra security as though another January 6 riot was going to happen. This convoy is patterned after the Freedom Convoy in Canada, also a noticeably peaceful protest.