News & Politics

The Trucker Convoy Is Still Trying to Get DC’s Attention

Trucks on the Beltway. Photograph by Flickr user Stephen Melkisethian.

Trucks and smaller vehicles affiliated with the “People’s Convoy” that is camped in Hagerstown, Maryland, plan to circle the Capital Beltway mid-morning Monday. Unlike a similar demonstration on Sunday, today the group will take up two lanes of traffic, an organizer tells the Washington Post:

Organizer Brian Brase said the group, which circled the Beltway twice on Sunday, is aiming to loop around once on Monday. He said the group plans to occupy two lanes instead of one, as an “escalation.” The group’s motorists will drive the minimum legal speed limit, he said.

Brase claimed Sunday’s exhibition of big-rig dissatisfaction completely encircled the ring road, but the Post, like others who witnessed the protest in action, reports that the group, which initially measured about 30 miles long, quickly “became interspersed with normal traffic.”

The convoy’s main demand now is that the US government rescind the coronavirus-inspired state of emergency invoked by former President Trump and continued by President Biden. They say they have plans to meet with members of Congress to discuss their concerns. It’s not clear that they have the ear of any politicians who can do anything, however.

So far, the convoy’s displays are having trouble breaking through, not least because the Beltway is often challenged by traffic.

Not to mention that the attention of much of Official Washington is fixed on the war in Ukraine. The convoy’s Sunday protest merited one sentence at the very bottom of today’s Washington Post print edition front page, a measure of the group’s uphill climb to reach the people it’s hoping to convince. As domestic-extremism researcher Jared Holt wrote on Twitter Friday, many people in the convoy have become accustomed to thinking they are part of the biggest story in the world. Convoy organizer Brase told the Post his group plans to stick around till at least Saturday. As of Monday, its website says there are no plans to enter the District.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.