Although many pandemic-related restrictions at the federal and local levels have been blocked or rolled back, organizers have rallied supporters by calling the mandates a violation of their freedoms.
Brian Brase, the group’s organizer, said the convoy will continue to demonstrate until the warrants for health workers, federal employees and military personnel are removed.
“I believe he’ll jump in the lead truck, not 100% sure of the details, but he’ll at least drive the convoy out the door and onto the road,” Brase said. “He can stick to it. I’m not sure it’s up to him and his security staff and what they decide to do.
Mike Landis, one of the People’s Convoy organizers, said he thought the plan was for Cruz to drive a shotgun in his truck. He was hoping Cruz would ride with him through the entire demo and all the way to DC. He said he was “talked about going to DC proper,” but he wasn’t sure what would happen. “It’s a very big honour,” he said.
Brase also said they would be traveling to DC to meet with other lawmakers, adding that it was a bit of a “cold call.”
“There’s no ignoring a senator getting in the lead truck,” Brase said to cheers. “It’s basically an endorsement of what we’re doing.”
Brase insisted the group will not leave the area until the warrants are lifted. The convoy of large trucks, RVs and pickup trucks began circling the ring road on Sunday, repeating the protest Monday and Tuesday. The group rested on Wednesday due to rainy weather and road safety concerns.
Brase and other convoy leaders met with Cruz and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) Tuesday morning at the Capitol to discuss their demands and grievances. Although no direct action came out of the meeting, Brase said he saw it as a step in the right direction. At the meeting, Cruz validated the convoy’s concerns, criticizing the country’s response to the pandemic and urging leaders to pressure Democrats in Congress.
Convoy leadership also met Tuesday afternoon with some Republican members of the House Transportation Committee to discuss shared concerns about pandemic-related mandates. In addition to ending federal warrants, convoy members are calling for an end to the National Emergency Declaration that was first issued by President Donald Trump in March 2020 and later extended by President Biden.
The group’s leaders also called on Congress to hold hearings to investigate the government’s response to the pandemic and urged people across the country to start organizing in their state capitals.
The group came to the DC area over the weekend with some of its members hailing from Adelanto, Calif., and set up shop at Hagerstown Speedway, over an hour from the city.
Law enforcement authorities in Virginia and Maryland said there were no reports of the convoy encircling the convoy other than a few minor traffic jams. The convoy said it was joined by 150 other cars and trucks when they arrived at Hagerstown Freeway.
There were no arrests, towed vehicles or violations as a result of the convoy, officials said.
It is not known exactly when the convoy plans to leave the DC area. Brase, a 37-year-old trucker from Ohio, had at one point said he planned to stay in Hagerstown at least Saturday, but also said he might stay longer to get more meetings with politicians.