A small group of truckers and their allies from The People's Convoy went to D.C. on Tuesday morning to meet with Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ron Johnson (R-WI). In the afternoon, they also met with the Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) of the Committee for Transportation and Infrastructure.
Trucker, Brian Brase, one of the convoy's core organizers, was the lead spokesperson for the meetings. Also in attendance were; truckers Allen Kelly of PA, Jerry Jurek Stetz of FL, Ron Coleman of NV, and Lisa Huntoon of TX. Additionally, an 18-year-old California photographer named Jauneil Brooks who tagged along with the convoy, American Foundation for Civil Liberties and Freedom (AFCLF), and Exemplar Companies lawyer Chris Marston, two Unity Project doctors, Dr. Pierre Kory and Dr. Paul Alexander, attended the meetings. Brooks was in tears at one point as he explained some of his experiences as a teenager because of pandemic restrictions and lockdowns.
The purpose of the meeting was to request the lifting of the national emergency powers order that was initially put in place on Mar. 13, 2020 and was then continued on Feb. 18, 2022, by President Biden.
Lift Emergency Order/The People's Convoy
"The heart of America is the working, the working man and woman, and this is what the people's movement is about. It represents the heart of America, and they lost their jobs because they weren't getting that they didn't want to get vaccinated, or they had pre-existing medical conditions, or guess what? Their doctors just plain old recommended that they shouldn't. And because of that, they shouldn't. They had, like you said, government officials forcing medical decisions above, above, and beyond a doctor's recommendation, which is awful, right? We've turned our back on the Nuremberg Code...the courts [have been] handcuffed [because of the emergency powers order]. Ultimately they were handcuffed because you go to court to enforce your constitutional rights, and the court said their hands are tied because there are emergency powers. Would you believe that the courts can't enforce the Americans' constitutional rights for two years? It's unfathomable."
Later in the meeting, Kelly, a trucker for 28 years with his wife Bonnie, spoke from his heart about what he saw as he traveled across America. He mentioned that he was afraid to go to D.C. to speak with government officials, given what he has seen in the past year. He also committed himself to action once the convoy goes home:
"We come from a small town in Pennsylvania, southwestern Pennsylvania from here. I'm here for the mother that we were talking to on the way from Adelanto to Hagerstown but hasn't talked to her daughter in six months because she's not vaccinated and her kids won't talk to her, she's in tears. We've had a movement like no other, like no presidential candidate. Like no senator, like no congressman, like no governor. Coming across this country, we've had millions of people. There's only been a handful of bridges with no people on them or where we haven't seen somebody we're coming out of the woods on their 4 Wheelers. And when you're driving under these overpasses, and you look up at the people's faces...Yeah, it was 10's of thousands and turned hundreds of thousands of people. And I think it speaks volumes. They're crying. Yeah, you can see we've opened—we've already won because we've opened their hearts. And once their hearts are open, they can't be closed."
"I know the 47 people who voted to keep the Emergency Powers Act. I know the ones that didn't vote. And we're going to keep; we're going to hold them accountable because they wanna sleep. They're not down here. Yeah, they're [in] their homes having their cocktail parties and not listening to the people working for the people that are paying. But they gave him that lavish lifestyle that they have, and we're going to hold people accountable that don't listen to us. And that includes everybody that that did vote for. If they don't continue to fight for us, we were paying attention. We know who's who. We need to take back our school boards or town selectman city mayors. Then it all starts there because it's all been infiltrated. It's all corrupt. It's unconscionable what they've done to the American people, and we need to start, and the people are going to start. Me especially. It's not [a] right issue. It's not a left issue like it's a 'We The People' issue."
At the end of his testimonial, Kelly asked the two Senators if it was illegal for them to roll the beltway or "peacefully assemble following the laws." Senator Cruz reassured him and the others that it is absolutely their right to do so.
Brian Brase emphasized in the meeting that while he is the face of the convoy, he is merely its spokesman and one of 30 plus core organizers for the trip. Brase continued:
Brian Rally Mar. 5, 2022
"We are almost 1000 truckers strong right now. But in Oklahoma, the State Police put out that we were 7000 thousand vehicles strong and stretched 30 miles long coming across their Interstate. I want to specify that this isn't just a truck convoy. This is truly the people's convoy. We have folks here that are in R.V.s, Motor Homes, motorcycles, and people all the way from Adelanto, California, here on motorcycles to join us. We got folks in cars. They're sleeping in their car tonight. They're sleeping in tents outside of their car, outside of the motorhome [at night]. I seen a guy last night sleeping on his motorcycle with a tarp over because of the rain. Truly, the people it's not. Even though the truckers might have been the ones to lead the charge or step up initially, we're not even doing it for ourselves. We're doing it for our families. We're doing it for our communities, and we're doing it for the people of the United States, and truthfully, we're doing it for people around the world."
At one point, the press was ushered in the room. Reporter Zachary Petrizzo with the Daily Beast said the truckers were "gumming up" the roads. He asked the Senators whether they had "any advice" for the truckers. He also stated that the truckers were "kind of encircling D.C. now, quite feverishly trying to occupy. Truck after truck try[ing] to occupy two lanes of traffic." Brase responded with a steady message:
"You know, I'm gonna respond this way. One of the things COVID is done is it has revealed the truth. And the truth is revealed that there are a lot of politicians who are petty tyrants. There are a lot of big tech executives who are happy to censor and silence. And the corporate media is fundamentally corrupt.
Let me ask you something. What the hell about these people is feverish. I haven't seen any fevers around here. But look, I will answer your question the following way. Currently, the media wants to portray people exercising First Amendment rights and speaking out as feverish, as violent criminals. They're not violent. Under energetically trying to encircle D.C.?—our truckers have been stopping and making sure they pick up the trash, they pick up their cigarette butts.
There's nothing feverish about speaking out for freedom, and the corporate media doesn't want people to hear that. They want to paint these guys as a bunch of loons because they want to make decisions for their own lives and their own family. There is a fever in Washington, but it's a fever of authoritarian politicians trying to strip away people's rights.
And, not to mention every single day, the night before, we always explain what our convoy is going to do, where we are going to be, and how we are going to conduct ourselves. The night before D.C. Metro knows we ain't coming down into D.C. the night before, Maryland State Police know that we're going to what we're going to do the night before. Virginia State Police know what we're going to do. They know what we're doing. We stick to our word. When we say that we're going to go around the Beltway, we go around the Beltway; we get on where we said we're going to get on. We get off where we said we're going to get off. We're probably the most peaceful protest to come down through the Washington DC area in a very long time. Not to mention we clean up after ourselves.
We look out for each other. In fact, when one of our convoy members breaks down, we have volunteer mechanics within our convoy that are pulling off to help them get up, backed up onto the road, and get moving. We've hired volunteer pilot cars with signs that say "convoy ahead" or "convoy follows." We're doing everything we can to limit the impact on the American people's commute to and from work. We're doing everything we can to respect our local communities. Everything we can do...Feverish around the beltway? You have no idea, man. You have no idea."
Ron Coleman mentioned the thousands of notes from children and families across the country. He read a couple of them out loud:
"One of the moving things that we have moving across this country is the stacks of these notes written by children with crayons. As you know, as I said before. So a little girl just came up to me and hugged me and handed me a crayon note that was written in her hand. It said, 'We love you truckers. Thank you for fighting for our futures.'"
And I took on a very important thing. I rose my hand. I took an oath, like many in this convoy. That oath has no expiration date, and I may not be serving in the active military today, but I am serving my country nonetheless, until my dying breath. And that is why I am here. I am telling you. I am the Pony Express today, and I'm taking your messages. I'm taking your tears and your hearts, your love, your "I love yous," and every message and every word you give to me. I'm taking it with me, and I'm going to let them be heard.
"So let me read this one letter:"
'Dear trucker. I admire your courage and your determination in doing this. I will support you and your and pray for you and pray for a victory over the sad oppression, that is going on. Thank you for fighting for all of us, a mother of three. God bless you.'
Note from mother of 3/Ron Coleman
UncoverDC spoke with trucker Allen Kelly on Wednesday and asked him how he was feeling a day later. While he was hesitant to go to D.C. for fear of jeopardizing his family, he was glad he went.
He explained that on the way to D.C., the staff for the senators contacted the truckers via Zoom. Kelly said that the staff seemed to have worries that the truckers wouldn't behave properly. In fact, Kelly explained that the staff was so worried about their conduct that they originally told the truckers they couldn't live stream. That was non-negotiable, according to Kelly. The truckers were very concerned their message would not be properly conveyed by the media. A live stream video of the meetings would be the only way they could ensure "full transparency for Americans everywhere," said Kelly. He also mentioned that the troopers and local police "could not have been happier with us."
"I mean, we've been working with the Maryland State Police that Virginia State Police. We worked with them, and we did what we said we're going to do, and we had no incidents. There [have] been no arrests made, they couldn't be happier, and they put that out to the Washington Post."
As for the senatorial staff zoom call on the road, Kelly explained:
"You know, on our rundown here yesterday, and they were zoom calling us— having a zoom meeting with us because we were truck drivers, and they didn't think that we'd be able to handle ourselves. They wanted to make sure that we were able to handle ourselves before they let us in there; we ended up hanging up on them because it was ridiculous. And we basically lost service. They were afraid of how we would speak.
They wanted to listen to us speak. And stuff like that. And I'm like. I don't know. I mean, I think we had our stuff together pretty good. I mean, we didn't choreograph anything. We just spoke from the heart. They wanted to make sure we weren't from the radical right. You know, and I'm like, no, this isn't about the right or the left. This is about the American people."
Kelly also said that now that the truckers have rolled across America for the American people, it is now up to all Americans to do the necessary work to ensure this never happens again. On Wednesday morning, Kelly did a Facebook live to summarize his thoughts on the subject of grassroots activism. Mentioning the meteoric rise in gas prices and heating oil, he told UncoverDC that those are the metrics that will most certainly "wake up all Americans." He said he would continue to fight, but Americans absolutely must do their part to make their voices loud and clear to politicians in local office and beyond. Kelly's message:
"All you guys out there. Y'all need to come to Hagerstown if nothing else, for the fuel prices. Bring your cars, your campers, your trucks if you can. If you can't make the trip, call your state representatives, your local representatives in your area, and for all you guys, we've come across the country, and there's a lot of people that can't make this, and we understand that. We appreciate all the support all the way across the country because, honestly, without the support of the American people, this wouldn't even be possible.
"So we've had guys come in for a day. We've had guys call us. We've had guys make TikTok videos to try to support us. We appreciate all that. It's helped tremendously, and we, we love you guys for that. But look, there's a lot of people that ask what can we do to help? This is what you can do to help. You can call your state representatives. Get their phone numbers, burn their phones down.
You need to contact your state representatives. Until we take back our school boards or town selectmen or city mayors or sheriff's departments, all of that plays a big role in what we're doing, and you guys can help."
The People's Convoy did not roll the beltway on Wednesday because of the rain. The leadership hopes to arrange more meetings in D.C. in service of lifting the standing emergency orders. They plan to stay in the area until their request to lift the emergency orders has been satisfied.
The following live video is one of many posted by UncoverDC during the trip. This video shows footage from Feb. 22 as convoy participants arrive to join them for their first day of travel from Adelanto, CA on Feb. 23. The convoy began with approximately 20-30 trucks and, at one point, grew to about 7000 vehicles as it rolled through the state of Oklahoma. Counters were turned on in the state by local troopers to help estimate the numbers of trucks, six-wheelers, four-wheelers, and motorcycles that would join along the way.
UncoverDC Journalist Wendi Strauch Mahoney rode with two truckers who attended the D.C. meetings during her coast-to-coast trip with the convoy. There were many highlights, but one of the favorites was a call-in by General Mike Flynn by phone blasted over the C.B. radio en route.
At one point, even a helicopter with a giant flag escorted the convoy for a number of miles in the state of Illinois. Illinois originally told the truckers they could not travel through the state. However, after some discussion, officials there conceded, and the convoy met with fields and overpasses filled with cheering crowds as they traversed the state.