Days after meeting with leaders of the so-called “People’s Convoy” alongside Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) got in on the largely uneventful action on Thursday morning, riding shotgun in the lead truck of the convoy as it circled the Capital Beltway on its fourth day of protesting COVID-19 measures.
In a speech to a crowd of truckers and drivers, Cruz reportedly said “your voice is being heard.”
“What the men and women want here is for the government to leave you the hell alone. … That is the most American sentiment you could imagine,” Cruz said, according to the Washington Post.
Cruz’s latest boost of the trucker convoy’s protest followed its leaders’ meeting with Cruz and Johnson on Tuesday. The GOP senators met with convoy leaders after the group descended on the D.C. area last weekend. In the meeting, truckers vowed to continue their protest until vaccine mandates in the country end.
The convoy leaders also met with some Republican members of the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday to talk about their opposition to pandemic-related mandates, according to the Post. Convoy members are also demanding the national COVID-19 emergency declaration that was first implemented under the Trump administration in March 2020 be lifted.
Additionally, the group’s leaders demand Congress hold hearings investigating the government’s response to COVID-19, and are pushing for people nationwide to mimic their protest in their state capitals.
The protests in the D.C. area birthed out of the much larger anti-vax trucker protests in Canada last month. Those demonstrations were much more dramatic, with truckers essentially occupying the area just outside the Canadian parliament building in Ottawa for several days and shutting down crucial throughways on the Canada-U.S. border.
Despite some GOP senators coming out in support of the trucker convoy’s protest, the U.S. version of the freedom convoy has not induced much disruption beyond slowing down traffic near the Capital. In the past week, the convoy has become disjointed as trucks interspersed with normal traffic.
It is unclear when the convoy plans to depart the D.C. area. Brian Brase, a truck driver from northwest Ohio who is leading the trucker convoy, told reporters following the group’s meeting with Johnson and Cruz on Tuesday that it will continue looping the Beltway “until we’re heard.”