Trucker backs off Beltway protest

A truck driver who called for protesting the government by backing up the Capitol Beltway says he made the threat to attract media attention.

Georgia-based truck driver Earl Conlon, who was behind the group “Truckers for the Constitution,” told The Washington Post he was hoping to use the threat of shutting down the Beltway to highlight the industry's frustration with federal regulations.

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"The comments to U.S. News were designed to do one thing and one thing only: stir the feather of the mainstream media,” Conlon said. “Nothing gets the attention like the mainstream media, like some sort of disastrous threat. I knew it was going to ruffle some feathers.”

While Conlon said it's possible some truckers will protest on the Beltway this weekend, he said they wouldn't be intentionally trying to back up traffic on the 64-mile highway that encircles Washington.

“First of all we know it would not be right to go to D.C. to lock down the city by the Beltloop,” he said. “That wouldn’t be fair to the people there.” 

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The truckers' threat to create a logjam on the Beltway was first reported this week by U.S. News and World Report.

Colon said he was not sure if he would make the trip to Washington for the event this weekend, which had been dubbed a "Ride for the Constitution."

He said he did not regret making the threat to back up the Beltway, which has become synonymous with the federal government's happenings via the phrase "inside the Beltway."

"We would not be having this conversation if government was balancing this budget,” Conlon said.