- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Q: What do you hope Americans learn from Rolling Thunder rides?

Artie Muller: I hope we give them an education about POWs and MIAs. I hope that they have more respect for our military and our veterans and understand what they’ve been through. It’s not easy for those who fight the wars, no matter what they did or where they were. It’s rough. I also hope that people see us differently now. Maybe they thought, oh, these bikers are bad, or outlaws — but bikers often do more to raise awareness and charity funds for vets and military than anyone else. They’re good people.

Q: What message do you have for politicians?

A: We want the Congress and the Senate to get off their butts for a change and pass legislation which will truly help our vets, our military and their families.

Q: What kind of motorcycle do you have?

A: I ride a 1992 Harley-Davidson low rider with a 96-inch S&S motor. It’s got a black finish and pinstripes.

Q: How many times have you been to the White House?

A: We’ve visited 12 times. When George W. Bush was in office, we brought him a Rolling Thunder vest and he put it on right away. He greeted us right in the White House driveway.

Q: How do you feel about the current administration?

A: I’ve supported President Trump for years. He even spoke at Rolling Thunder as a candidate. I believe he is the right person for the presidency right now. He’s not a politician, he can’t be bought. He stands by his guns, so to speak. He does what he says he’s going to do. I respect him for that. And look, people are working, they’re happy and there’s some money coming in. That’s how it should be.

Q: What was the best advice you ever got about the operations side of Rolling Thunder?

A: It came from Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell. He rode with us many times. He told me, ‘Artie, you’ve got a real powerful force here. Start your own organization and go on the mission you want to do. Keep it clean, keep it honest and you’ll succeed.’ So that’s what we did.”

Q: What’s your advice for regional leaders who will organize Rolling Thunder rides around America?

A: If anybody asks you a question about the group, don’t BS them. Don’t lie. And stay strict about what people put on their vest or their jacket when they ride. Any military medals or patches must be authentic and documented on paper. There can’t be any phonies in Rolling Thunder.

Q: What personal quality has helped you all these years as the Rolling Thunder chief?

A: I was born in Brooklyn, I grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Those places, you learn to be direct, to tell the truth. So I tell the truth. I’m direct. That way, you never have to worry about what you’ve said, what you told people. You’re in the right.

Q: Name an accomplishment you’re proud of.

A: Over 96% of the money we raise goes directly to our vets, our military and their families.

Q: Do you want family members to follow in your footsteps?

A: I hope, maybe, that my kids and grandkids would stay involved in Rolling Thunder. But I don’t think they should take on what I took on, which was a whole lot, and it’s gone on for 33 years. But I can tell you this, I have met incredible people along the way.

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