Republican Support for Trucker Protests Growing

Support for the trucker convoy, which was designed to protest vaccine mandates imposed on truckers by the U.S. and Canadian governments, is growing among Republicans.

In January, President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau each put rules in place requiring that truckers crossing international lines show proof of vaccination against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus. The move was extremely unpopular among truckers, and in Canada hundreds of truckers formed a “Freedom Convoy” to protest the mandate in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.

Trudeau demanded that they disperse; after they refused, Trudeau fled the capital.

Later, Trudeau requested that parliament invoke the Canadian Emergencies Act. That law allowed Trudeau to declare the protest a national emergency and to unilaterally crack down on it. Trudeau was criticized sharply for the move during the parliamentary session, but it was ultimately agreed to, and the protestors were forcibly driven out of the capital.

Now, similar protests are planned for Washington, beginning next week, and several Republicans have indicated their support for the movement.

On Feb. 17, Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) spearheaded a letter signed onto by 63 other House Republicans expressing support for the movement.

In the letter, the signatories called for an end to the international trucker mandate.

That mandate, Rosendale argued, “is not only impacting truck drivers, but it also hurts American agriculture, and countless other industries across our nation.”

Rosendale also argued that amid supply chain issues that have left many shelves in American supermarkets bare, the mandate is even more objectionable.

“Trucking moves more than 70% of all freight in the United States, and policies that needlessly inhibit the industry exacerbate the supply chain breakdown that developed within your first year of office,” he said.

“We strongly urge you to work with the Canadian government to lift these mandates before the American public suffers for it,” the letter concluded.

On Twitter, Rosendale wrote: “Today, I led 63 [House GOP] colleagues in support of the truckers protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and urging Joe Biden to work with Canada to lift the mandates on essential travel at the border. Truckers are the lifeblood of our nation—they deserve better.”

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), one of the letter’s signatories, wrote on Twitter separately where he said, “Proud to join [Rep. Rosendale] and my colleagues to stand with truckers here in the U.S. and in Canada to oppose COVID-19 vaccine mandates.”

He added, “I will always stand with those who are peacefully opposing these draconian, top-down vaccine mandates that the people don’t need or want.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who was the second signatory of the letter just after Rosendale, went a step further in her condemnation of the U.S. and Canadian policies.

“Joe Biden and House Democrats’ vaccine mandates are authoritarian and unconstitutional,” Stefanik wrote on Twitter. “These truckers have the right to peacefully protest these authoritarian mandates.”

Separately on Twitter, Stefanik quoted the opening of the American Declaration of Independence, tying the protests back to the revolutionary founding of the young nation.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” it read, which was attached to a video of several hundred Californians gathering to join the truckers.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has been an outspoken critic of all vaccine and mask mandates, said in a recent Twitter post that truckers “work so hard to deliver food and critical supplies for all people” and are now “bravely taking a peaceful stand for our freedoms.”

Democrats are significantly less in favor of the movement.

In her most recent weekly press conference, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) veered away from the topic but indicated that preparations were being made for the protest.

In a statement, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) reported that she had been briefed by the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) ahead of the convoy, which she described as a “threat.”

“I thank [USCP] Chief Manger for spending so much time briefing me and for elaborating on the hard work he and USCP are doing,” Norton said. “Chief Manger is ensuring that USCP is coordinating with law enforcement partners, including the Secret Service and D.C. police, and the National Guard to address the trucker convoy and to ensure next week’s State of the Union address goes smoothly.”

Norton also reported that the USCP “is considering reinstalling temporary fencing around the Capitol,” but said that “the information regarding threats changes hourly.”

“Chief Manger assured me the fencing would only be used if necessary and taken down as soon as the threat had passed,” Norton added.

Most Democrats have, like Pelosi, stayed away from the topic, including Biden. However, most congressional Democrats have made clear that they back Biden’s efforts to force Americans to get vaccinated against the CCP virus.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said  that the administration, including the Department of Homeland Security, has “been monitoring [the convoy] closely.”

In January, the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s private sector vaccine mandate—which would have required employees at firms with more than 100 people to submit to vaccination or weekly testing—as unconstitutional. However, they left in place a mandate that required healthcare workers to get vaccinated.

Other mandates, including the trucker mandate as well as a mandate for military servicemembers, federal employees, and federal contractors, remain in place.

For opponents to defeat the mandate, they will need to convince the president, a sizable portion of both chambers of Congress, or the Supreme Court to undo it.

On Feb. 22, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) led Senate Republicans in introducing legislation to overturn the trucker mandate. However, such a legislative solution would be difficult for the GOP minority.

Republicans would need to convince Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has almost complete control over what comes to the Senate floor, to allow a vote on it. Then, Republicans would need to win the support of their whole caucus and at least 10 Democrats to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold.

In the House, the situation is much the same. Pelosi, like Schumer, decides what comes to the floor, so she would need to be on board with the bill for it to even receive a vote. It would also require a handful of Democrats to defect and join Republicans in voting for the bill.

Overcoming these hurdles, the last challenge to a legislative end to the mandate is Biden himself. Even if Scott’s bill or another similar bill made it through the House and Senate, it would still be subject to veto by the White House, which could only be overruled by the support of two-thirds of Congress.

Another Supreme Court case would be an easier route for opponents of the mandate, but there are as yet no indications that the Supreme Court is planning to hear any such case.

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