They’re some of the country’s most unheralded front-line workers — and on Thursday, President Donald Trump and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao celebrated the nation’s 3.5 million truck drivers for the work they do.
During the event on the White House lawn, the president praised “the entire trucking industry for keeping our country moving” and said that “truckers are playing a heroic role in helping America cope during this crisis, and truckers will be a critical part in helping our economy recover once this crisis is past us.”
“From the moment the invisible enemy landed on our shores, America’s 3.5 million truckers have never wavered at all, and they’ve never, ever let us down. When we supply our country, we supply it through truckers,” Trump said in his remarks, flanked by trucks on either side.
“And supply chains were stretched thin to hospitals and cities and states needed — they needed massive convoys of supplies that truckers kept on going, day and night. It didn’t make any difference to them. They had to get the job done.”
“At a time of widespread shutdowns, truck drivers form the lifeblood of our economy, the absolute lifeblood,” the president said, according to a White House transcript.
“For days and sometimes weeks on end, truck drivers leave their homes and deliver supplies that American families need and count on during this national crisis, and at all other times, they’re always there…
“In the war against the virus, American truckers are the foot soldiers who are really carrying us to victory,” he added.
“And they are. They’ve done an incredible job. We’ve had no problems. It’s been just — it’s been just great, and we want to thank you very much.”
Stephen Richardson, the American Trucking Associations driver, praised the president on “Fox & Friends” on Friday.
“It was definitely an experience of a lifetime,” Richardson said.
“Getting the honor and respect that I think the 3.5 million truck drivers deserve was just heartwarming because it was not personally me, it’s all of us doing our jobs.”
During his remarks at the White House, Richardson recalled how one of the companies whose wares he hauled was also making good during the crisis.
“In my time of driving in the last couple of years, I’ve been hauling barrels for a company called Jack Daniels, out of Lynchburg, Tennessee. They make some of the greatest Tennessee whiskey, if I could say. I’ve had a few swigs here and there,” he said to laughter, according to the transcript.
“In times when the economy is running good, Jack Daniels makes great whiskey. But now that we’re in this time of a pandemic, Jack Daniels has switched over to making hand sanitizer.
“And by me hauling the barrels, it allows the company on the front end to do something for agriculture in our area,” he continued. “It also allows the company to run and make hand sanitizer, which I think is great.”
It’s rare that we have to think about America’s truck drivers and how the work they do is a critical part of our infrastructure. Most of the time, they’re invisible to us — when they aren’t the targets of jokes.
They aren’t invisible anymore and no one’s laughing at what they do.
At a time when our supply chain is under enormous strain and those who keep it running are doing so at great personal danger to themselves, our country’s truckers have stepped up and delivered — figuratively and literally — just like they always have.
They’ve gone above and beyond, and Thursday was another reminder of that.
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