U.S. Senator Rand Paul has not only voiced his support for truck drivers in Canada who are protesting COVID safety protocols by blocking roads at the border with the U.S., he’s also encouraging them to “clog up” Washington D.C. and Los Angeles streets on Super Bowl Sunday.
The Department of Homeland Security has warned that the convoys could reach D.C. and California as early as this weekend when the Super Bowl will take place at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium. In an interview with conservative outlet the Daily Signal, Paul gave the protesters the green light to “clog things up” in America.
“I’m all for it,” 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.”
The 59-year-old Republican from Kentucky, whose opposition to the vaccine and mask-wearing mandates is well-documented, continued: “I hope the truckers do come to America, and I hope they clog up cities.”
The potential protests appear to be the companion of “Freedom Convoys” that began in Ontario, Canada in late January. For weeks, the convoys have caused significant disruption to traffic along the U.S.-Canada border, where there are strict vaccine mandates. Truckers from Ottawa, the capital city that is currently under a state of emergency, are expected to potentially join protesting truckers in Washington D.C.
At a White House press briefing on Friday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that while the truckers have the right to demonstrate, the protest could have “a huge impact on workers and the American public.”
She added that “we are in very close contact with Canadian officials,” including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “We’ve also taken steps to help detour routes so that a number of these trucks can move in different routes and be able to cross the border.”
Addressing the possibility that the protests will interfere with the Super Bowl, Psaki said that Homeland Security is “surging additional staff to its incident command post” and is cooperating with the California Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles Police Department, and state and local authorities.
“We’re working to address this on all fronts,” she concluded.
Paul’s inclusion of “slavery” and “civil rights” in his statement supporting the truckers was criticized by Charles Booker, the Democratic candidate running to replace him in the Senate.
“Today, Rand Paul called slavery a time honored tradition. My enslaved ancestors would strongly disagree. This type of ignorance is destructive, intentional, and completely unacceptable,” Booker wrote yesterday on Twitter, adding: “Rand Paul is not fit for public office.”