Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, wants to see truckers stage a Canadian-style protest in America, saying he hopes they “clog things up” with a demonstration against pandemic mandates.
“I hope the truckers do come to America. I hope they clog up cities,” said Mr. Paul in a Friday interview with the Daily Signal.
His comments came amid reports that the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring efforts to hold a trucker protest on Super Bowl Sunday in Los Angeles, as well as launch a convoy from California to Washington.
“I’m all for it,” Mr. Paul said. “Civil disobedience is a time-honored tradition in our country, from slavery to civil rights, to you name it. Peaceful protest, clog things up, make people think about the mandates.”
Mr. Paul, a physician, is a longtime critic of government mask and vaccination mandates. In 2020, he famously refused to wear a mask at the Capitol after recovering from COVID-19, citing his natural immunity.
He said the U.S. government deserves some of the blame for the Canadian pushback against emergency pandemic orders, touched off by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s vaccination mandate for truckers reentering Canada from the south, which went into effect Jan. 15.
“And some of this, we started,” Mr. Paul said. “We put [COVID-19] mandates on truckers coming across the border from Canada so then they put mandates on, and the truckers are annoyed. They’re riding in a cab by themselves, most of them, for eight, 10-hour long hauls, and they just want to do what they want to do. It’s their own business.”
The truckers, who have blocked streets with their big rigs in the Canadian capital of Ottawa and last week temporarily snarled the Ambassador Bridge border-crossing in Ontario, appear to have changed some minds.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has announced that the province would lift its vaccination mandates, effective Sunday, and its masking requirements at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, a half-dozen Democratic governors have broken with President Biden by lifting or signaling the end of facial-covering requirements as infections and hospitalizations driven by the omicron variant subside.
“And we’re seeing a break in the dam now. Several Democratic governors are finally sort of relinquishing,” Mr. Paul told the Daily Signal. “What they’re finding is, moms and dads upset about this are not just Republican. Everybody’s upset about this. They’re annoyed that their little kids have to be in a mask.”
If the convoy does come to Washington, Mr. Paul said that it may not have much of an impact, given how deserted the Capitol and the city have become under pandemic restrictions.
“It’d be great, but the thing is, it wouldn’t shut the city down because the government workers haven’t come to work in two years anyway,” Mr. Paul said. “So I don’t know if it’ll affect D.C. It’d be a nice change. We’d actually have some traffic.”
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.