Several conservative media figures in the United States have joined the cause of Canadian truckers who have occupied parts of Ottawa and blocked border crossings in order to protest COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates.
This week, Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity cheered on the truckers while showing four live reports from Ottawa. Tucker Carlson’s online store is selling “I (heart) Tucker” T-shirts with the words “I (heart) Truckers” changed to “I (heart) Truckers.”
Protesters in Canada are opposing vaccine mandates for truckers and other COVID-19 restrictions, as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, despite the fact that many of the country’s infection measures are already being phased out as the omicron surge subsides. Parts shortages caused by the protests have reverberated across the auto industry on both sides of the border.
The US Department of Homeland Security warned local and state law enforcement officers in a bulletin that it had received reports of similar protests planned in the United States.
According to the agency, protests could start as early as this weekend in Southern California and spread to Washington around the State of the Union address in March.
The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro said on his show, while sitting in front of a headline that said Canadians were “fed up” with Trudeau, that mandates had to end. Protesters are especially outraged by a requirement that all truck drivers entering the country be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Approximately 90% of Canadian truckers are already doing so.
“Nobody wants huge bridges to be closed down,” Shapiro said. “No matter what you’re protesting for, obstructing traffic is bad.” The cause of this protest, on the other hand, is just.”
For a time Thursday, the Red State website’s lead story was titled “East Bound and Down: US Truck Convoy Is Being Planned, Could Head to DC.” Sarah Lee, a Politico reporter, mocked a “very silly” piece that included a quote from an analyst who works for a think tank that tracks extremism, who noted worrying parallels to the buildup before the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. Hannity’s support for what Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford has referred to as an occupation comes after months of condemning violence and property destruction at some Black Lives Matter protests in the United States.
The difference, according to Hannity, is that the Canadian “Freedom Convoy” is peaceful. Hannity spoke with a reporter from the conservative website Rebel News on Monday, who described the Ottawa protest site as a “family environment” and “like a Canada Day festival every day.”
The protests have been mostly peaceful, though some residents have complained of harassment and an arson investigation has been launched in connection with one incident. Shapiro accused critics of the truckers of “nutpacking,” or focusing on a crazed individual and equating them with the entire protest movement. It’s a common political tactic to point to a more extreme position held by a member of an opposing party and claim that it represents everyone.
On Hannity’s show Tuesday, Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law, expressed her support for the truckers.
“Right here in America, people are rooting for them because this is about liberty,” she said.
Carlson suggested in a lengthy monologue on his show this week that it was inconsistent for the “intellectual elite” to largely support protest movements started by workers while opposing this one. He believes that while trends often begin in the United States and spread to Canada, the opposite may occur this time. “The trucker convoy in Canada is pretty cool,” he said. “People getting together to promote human rights. Who’s against that?”