With the first having arrived on Wednesday, a series of truck convoys were headed to Washington, D.C., this week in attempts to create gridlock on the Beltway. Bob Bolus, a Scranton, Pennslyvania truck driver, told ABC’s 7News he's leading a “convoy” to protest federal COVID-19 mandates, inflation, and illegal immigration.
“We're not going to camp there. Let me put it that way,” Bolus said. “We're not camping on the Beltway. We're gonna have our voices heard and let them understand this is only the tip of the iceberg."
But while Bolus hyped up his convoy and threatened the chaos it would create, the reality was his convoy only consisted of a handful of vehicles… including his own. The number was a lot smaller than Bolus’ expected minimum of 25 trucks—the number estimated to be coming from Pennslyvania alone—especially because he claimed he had been in communication with other drivers.
"Have you been in touch at all with the truck convoy coming from California to exchange notes and ideas?” 7News reporter Kevin Lewis asked Bolus on Monday.
“We have had dialogue,” he responded. “We've had conference calls and we're all on the same page. We're all for one thing: freedom and rights. It's America."
Bolus turnout was far from the “choke” he promised to give, instead, it was a sorry bunch. He himself noticed this and quickly turned the plan around telling The Daily Beast on Wednesday he no longer was interested in disrupting traffic.
“We’re not putting a chokehold on D.C. today,” the Pennsylvania-based trucker told The Daily Beast. “Not to say that it wouldn’t happen in the very near future. It’s just going to be an idea of what’s to come.”
The original plan was to create a gridlock blockade similar to the Canadian anti-vaccine mandate trucker demonstrations that caused chaos in Ottawa. However, given that a member eight vehicles showed up as of Wednesday, Bolus told The Daily Beast, his convoy will just “peacefully” sit in Beltway traffic.
“We’re going to go with the flow. Today we’re going to go with the flow of traffic,” Bolus said. “If they go at two miles an hour, we will be at two miles an hour.”
Bolus’ convoy gained press attention this week after Fox 5 D.C. reported that he intended to “shut down” the Capital Beltway. Speaking to the local outlet, Bolus threatened a huge group that “squeezes you, chokes you, and it swallows you—and that’s what we’re going to do to D.C.”
But of course, despite his threats and small following he garnered on Facebook Bolus’ plan failed.
According to 7News, at least two more convoys are planned in the upcoming week, including one by the American Truckers Freedom Convoy, which is expected to leave Washington State on Mar. 1 and end up in the D.C. region by Mar. 6.
Although the convoys are not expected to go to D.C. proper, law enforcement officials are still preparing.
U.S. Capitol Police, alongside D.C.'s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, requested National Guard support ahead of potential trucker protests in and around the nation's capital Tuesday 7News reported. Officials have also set roadblocks and barriers up around the Capitol, using garbage and dump trucks to block several intersections.