News & Politics

Meet the Guy Driving the “Daily Show” Truck Around DC

Jonathan Espinoza visited Washington for the first time yesterday. He’s here for a work assignment—a weird one. Since Monday, Espinoza has been driving a truck covered in television screens around DC’s national monuments. The truck plays a looped video of President Trump insulting various senators, and it’s been attracting lots of stares, laughs, and photographs from onlookers. It’s all part of a tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign by the Daily Show, hosted by Trevor Noah, aimed at the senators sitting in the impeachment trial as they prepare to vote on whether or not to remove the President from office. In the video, Noah reminds a handful of high-profile senators exactly how Trump has insulted them in the past.

Espinoza, a 30-year-old hip-hop fanatic from Miami, works for the national advertising company iKahan Media. He flew into New York City from Miami this week to pick up the truck and then drive it south to Washington. He’s driven these kinds of trucks all over the country for different advertisement gigs. “We have to make sure that the client is happy, so we make sure that everything is perfect,” he says.

On Monday, the first day of the Daily Show campaign, Espinoza estimates that he drove the truck around DC for eight hours, starting at 7 AM in front of the Senate. On Tuesday afternoon, Espinoza parked his truck outside the Washingtonian offices with a few minutes to spare. Here’s what he said:

Do you get to drive wherever you want, or is there an itinerary? 

We have a set course, yeah. The client wants us to go through certain places. 

Yesterday was the White House, the Washington Monument, the Senate, things like that. And—there’s another one, it’s the Mall or something, with the lake in front of it? Yeah. In front of the Washington Monument. They have us driving around in circles and taking pictures of the truck, different angles and videos. If I see people gathering, I’ll take a picture of them, so that the client can see that they’re getting a reaction. Then it’s, you know, “mission accomplished.”

What do you think of Noah’s video? 

I think it’s amazing. It’s funny. It makes a lot of people laugh. We drive by and people are just giggling and talking under their breath.

What have the reactions been like so far? 

I got one lady in her car [near Hyattsville] who was cussing me out. I’m guessing she was a Trump supporter, I don’t know. And there are other people who are just laughing, you know, they start taking videos of the truck. Just passing by, laughing, asking me questions, asking if I’m for or against Trump. And I’m just like, “I work for the company. Don’t ask me.”

Well, are you? For or against Trump, I mean? 

Honestly, I’m not really for or against. Because a lot of the news that you hear is fake. So you can’t really judge someone just because of what you hear out there, or on social media. 

Do you think this video will change your mind? 

Is it gonna change my mind? Well, I don’t know. I definitely think he [Noah] is funnier now. I think he has a sense of humor. He makes me laugh. I see why Comedy Central would have him on the video. I think out of everyone now, all the talk show hosts, he’s the one that’s going in the hardest [against Trump]. 

Have you been following the impeachment hearings? 

Yesterday I saw it on a channel, but I didn’t really look into it. It had been a long day, you know, driving the truck. I had already had enough of Trump that day. [Laughs.]

This is your first visit to DC! Are you going to get to sightsee at all while you’re here? 

I kind of am already. I’m literally here in front of the White House.

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

Nora McGreevy
Editorial Fellow

Nora McGreevy joined Washingtonian as an editorial fellow in January. Originally from South Bend, she has worked for The Boston Globe and the South Bend Tribune. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame.