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Millions of Americans have stood on the “front lines” to serve others as the coronavirus outbreak swept across the country, and that includes the nation’s truck drivers.
As panic buying led to shortages of all kinds of commodities — especially toilet paper, for some reason — drivers ramped up delivery of goods, products, and food to businesses and factories everywhere, putting them at greater risk of infection.
And while their efforts are ongoing as the pandemic continues, President Donald Trump took time Thursday to personally thank the nation’s fleet of drivers for doing yeoman’s work in keeping the nation’s supply chain intact.
“We say thank God for truckers – that will be our theme, thank God for truckers,” the president said as he stood amid “beautiful, beautiful” tractor-trailer rigs belonging to major shippers including FedEx.
Standing near the South Lawn at the White House, the president called drivers “heroes” as assembled guests told stories of how they hauled vital supplies to hospitals and first responders.
Trump also hinted at a coming infrastructure package, which has been in his policy quiver from the outset of his presidency.
“We’re working very strongly on an infrastructure package. And if we get some Democrat support, you’re going to have some nice roads again,” he said.
“At a time of widespread shutdowns, truck drivers formed the lifeblood of our economy,” the president said. “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.
“Their routes connect every farm, hospital, manufacturer, business and community in the country,” he continued. “The moment the invisible enemy landed on our shores, America’s 3.5 million truckers have never wavered at all.”
The Daily Mail notes further:
Trump has talked about signing an infrastructure bill since the beginning of his presidency – but it’s never happened. Since then, everytime the White House tried to hold an ‘infrastructure week’ something calamitous has happened – with the term becoming a running joke among the White House press corps.
And while earlier this month there was chatter about infrastructure becoming part of the large Congressional recovery package, those provisions haven’t been included, and don’t look like they’re a priority as lawmakers devise what will be in CARES 2, the next coronavirus pandemic package.
At present, Democrats and Republicans are bickering over details regarding a new funding bill for the Small Business Administration, not infrastructure. The agency blew through $350 billion appropriated in the first CARES Act to help offset losses from mandatory closures due to the pandemic.
Republicans want a clean one-off bill that replenishes SBA funding, while Democrats want to load it up with hundreds of billions more for other things.
As for the drivers, Trump heaped praise on them and thanked all of the nation’s truckers for continuing to keep the country afloat.
“In the war against the virus, truckers are the foot soldiers who are really carrying us to victory. They’ve done an incredible job. We have no problems,” he said.
Trump also employed some trademark self-deprecating humor as well.
“Do you know we call you all essential?’ Trump asked the four drivers standing with him at the podium, along with Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. “There are very few people called essential. I don’t know if they call me essential.”
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