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Trucking groups condemn Capitol violence

Message to truckers: Focus on policy, not politics

Trucking groups condemn protestors' violent attack on the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Tyler Merbler/Flickr

Trucking groups condemned the Wednesday attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump, which left at least five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer, and many more injured. 

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Western States Trucking Association and the American Trucking Associations separately spoke out against the violence, casting it as an affront to U.S. democracy. 

“Certainly most people would agree that Wednesday was a sad day for American democracy,” Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, told FreightWaves. “What happened in the nation’s Capitol is certainly unacceptable, inappropriate, totally uncalled for.”

Thousands of pro-Trump supporters, including some truck drivers, marched to the Capitol at the president’s urging after attending Trump’s “Save America Rally” where he continued to make false claims about election fraud and called for lawmakers to block the certification of the Electoral College vote.

Spencer said he supports all truckers’ rights to peacefully protest, but not those wanting to do harm or destroy public or private property.

OOIDA, a Missouri-based trade association that represents small-business truckers, was founded in the early 1970s as truckers protested the OPEC oil embargoes that attempted to shut down the trucking industry and nearly crippled the nation. 

“We figured out pretty quickly that protests make a little noise for a moment, but if you want to see real change, you have to knuckle down and work within the system,” Spencer said.

Spencer said he has members of both political parties who say Washington, D.C., doesn’t really work for them right now.

“It’s time to turn down the noise and focus on the issues, not politics,” he said. “The vast majority of issues that truckers have can only be resolved with bipartisan cooperation.”

Truckers need a place at the table under Biden administration

Joe Rajkovacz, who serves as the director of governmental affairs for the Western States Trucking Association, said if truckers want a place at the table to talk about serious issues facing the trucking industry they must first turn off the Trump rhetoric.

“Like it or not, there is a changing of the guard in Washington, D.C.,” Rajkovacz told FreightWaves. “If you truly care about the trucking industry, antagonizing those coming into power, who will be the decision makers, will backfire on you.”

He said any traction truckers gained under Trump will be lost by continuing to buy into the conspiracy theories about election fraud touted by the president, some U.S. lawmakers and pro-Trump supporters.

“There are some serious issues ahead that need to be addressed under President-elect Biden,” Rajkovacz said. “You aren’t going to gain a damn thing if you antagonize the Democrats right now,” he said.

Business groups seek to distance themselves from Trump

National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons, a staunch supporter of Trump policies, issued a stunning rebuke of the president Wednesday and called for him to be removed from office. 

The Retail Leaders Industry Association also forcefully denounced conspiracy theories about the election and called Wednesday’s events sedition.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigned one day after Wednesday’s violent attack on the Capitol.

In commenting on her resignation, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear called Chao a “strong leader and a tremendous partner” on issues affecting trucking.

“On a personal note, having worked for and with her over many years, I can attest that Elaine is a person of strong moral character, and should be applauded for not standing idly by following yesterday’s abhorrent and shameful events at the Capitol,” Spear said in a statement. “This is the kind of principled stand in support of our democracy I’ve always known her to take.”

The ATA,  which has had strong ties to Trump over the last four years, is a national trade organization representing large motor carriers in the U.S.

“We look forward to working with President-elect Biden’s Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg as he begins his transition to lead the Department,” Spear said.

Read related articles:

Business groups condemn Trump-led insurrection, election fraud claims
DOT chief Elaine Chao to resign


  1. MartyD

    Clarissa, I see that you are an “investigative” reporter. Have you done your own investigation and looked into all the videos available and the testimonies of the brave whistleblowers who testified about voter fraud, along with their sworn affidavits? Your article is very slanted and gives me shockwaves rather than freight waves!

  2. MartyD

    I don’t know any Trump supporters who supported the violence, which was done by ANTIFA!!! NOT by Pro-freedom, PRO-Constitutional, decent, hard-working Americans, who had to SACRIFICE to PEACEFULLY go to DC to demonstrate to oppose the election fraud that pro-Marxists still push the lie that it is “unfounded”. Do any of you know how to do your own research??? Are you trying to convince us that all the videos of the voter fraud end of sworn affidavits from whistle blowers are mirages? Are you trying to convince us that the massive crowds that attended trumps rally’s and lined the streets versus the few people standing in circles 15 feet apart at a coffee shop for Biden are no indication of how the election really went? Please! Don’t take us for fools! You say we have to work with “bipartisan” government??? Yeah, right! There is no bipartisan government here. It’s one big filthy swamp with some of the rats wearing red hats and some of them wearing blue hats. There’s only a few good men (and women) that have stood up for the small man and the average citizen, who are not on the take from the Chinese. I’m very disappointed with O O I D A! Actually, I feel embarrassed to wear the hat or the jacket now!

  3. MartyD

    It doesn’t surprise me that the Retailers Assn (Wal-CCP-Mart), Creepy Joe Lackovwits and ATA ( big Dem donors, using union dues from even non-supportive members) have no problem with Marxism, but what a blow that OOIDA, “the voice of the independent truckers”, has to bend the knee and bow to the tyrants and wanna-be dictators. Stupid and treasonous move, Todd!!!

  4. Slim

    Let’s make this go viral truckers. Lets show what OOIDA, WSTA, and ATA are all no difference. I thought Todd Spencer was so much better. No wonder he applied for administrator under Biden. Apparently he hates America and Truckers. I am sure he will get the job. I am a Senior Member but no fear I will never give OOIDA another dime.

  5. Ryan

    The big 3 trucking Associations. How do you even tell them apart? Todd, Chris, and Joe bunch of anti trucker scum. Funny how people don’t really know who all attacked the capital but real nice of Spencer to blame truckers and Trump supporters. I guess burning American cities, beating up truckers, and blocking highways all summer was ok because you were all Radio Silent. Anyone that belongs to any of these groups should be ashamed. They have all lost their ways.

  6. Robert Ott.

    OOIDA never spoke out against Truckers being drug from their trucks this summer and beaten. They didn’t speak out against blocking highways. But as soon as Trumpers do something they are screaming and yelling. OOIDA and it’s leadership are a bunch of left wing but jobs that don’t give a damn about truckers. I will not be renewing my membership.

Comments are closed.

Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to [email protected]