Many people on each side of the Detroit River see the week-long Ambassador Bridge blockage by "Freedom Convoy" allies in Windsor as a major inconvenience and economic hazard.
At least three Michigan Republicans see it as a campaign opportunity.
The latest is James Craig, jockeying to run against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this year. "I stand with the truckers," he says Friday afternoon in a five-paragraph statement that echoes Thursday comments by Rep. Lisa McClain and U.S. House candidate John James. (See earlier post below.)
The political newcomer lumps Whitmer with President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as defenders of "big government socialism" who are "beholden to special interests and the permanent political class." Craig blasts what he calls "their demonization of truckers and working people."
More excerpts from the candidate for nomination, who was Detroit police chief from 2013-21:
I support all working people who are standing up for personal freedom. What we are seeing is a tremendous lack of leadership from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Joe Biden and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Instead of focusing on the protestors and demonizing the truckers, these career politicians should be focused on how their irresponsible pandemic response is hurting our economies.
Instead of offering our equipment to help remove the trucks, President Biden and Gov. Whitmer should listen to the people and work with Prime Minister Trudeau to end the government mandates.
... I reject the notion that working people standing up for freedom are somehow the problem. ... It’s on Whitmer, Biden and Trudeau to show some leadership and make things right. ...
To be unequivocally clear – I reject government mandates, just as I rejected Whitmer’s lockdowns, and I will always stand up for freedom.
Original article, Thursday night:
A political reflex kicks in for Rep. Lisa McClain of Romeo and congressional candidate John James of Farmington Hills, who use the Canadian truckers' protest for election posturing. Both are Republicans running this year.
"Americans are fed up with government mandates and it's time for the Biden Administration to listen to the people," McClain says Thursday in a statement tweeted by Todd Spangler of the Detroit Free Press. "These mandates are going to cripple our supply chain, and the Democrats can blame freedom-loving truck drivers, but the real blame is on the vaccine requirements at the border."
McClain, running for a second term, represents a district that includes Port Huron. Hours-long bridge backups began there Wednesday because "Freedom Convoy" participants and sympathizers block Ambassador Bridge approaches in Windsor.
For his part, newly declared U.S. House candidate James tweets: "The only acceptable resolution is ending all Covid mandates on both sides of the bridge."
Canada in mid-January began requiring truckers crossing the border to be fully vaccinated against Covid to avoid a 14-day quarantine. The United States began enforcing a similar requirement a week later for anyone coming from Canada or Mexico.
Long-haul truckers coverged Jan. 29 outside Parliament in Ottawa, the Canadian capital. Their traffic-snarling protest spread this week to the Detroit River span and also blocked border bridges in North Dakota and Montana.
Rep. McClain, who won her seat on the day that Donald Trump lost his, is a member of her party's "Sedition Caucus" -- 121 representatives who objected to accepting Electoral College votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania. Their losing stance came hours after the Capitol takeover on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump this week endorsed the first-termer in the new 9th Congressional District, spanning the Thumb area and northern Macomb County. He also said: "The Freedom Convoy is peacefully protesting the harsh policies of far-left lunatic Justin Trudeau, who has destroyed Canada with insane Covid mandates."
James, who last week declared his candidacy for an open seat in the redrawn 10th District (now represented by McClain), lost U.S. Senate races in 2018 and 2020.
Democrats in Michigan's House delegation also speak out about the halt to traffic over the Detroit River.
"They've made their point — now it needs to stop," Rep. Elissa Slotkin says at the end of a four-tweet thread Thursday afternoon. "The longer they can simply block a border crossing when they want, the more likely it is that this will become a regular occurrence in the future."
Rep. Dan Kildee of Flint says: "Auto workers in my district have endured a tough year. ... We must keep the border between the U.S. and Canada open to allow goods, including auto parts and agricultural products, to freely move between our two countries."
US @RepLawrence whose district includes Ambassador Bridge: "full, regular travel needs to resume... The blockade is harming Michigan families, workers, small businesses, and manufacturers, especially at a time when our supply chain is so fragile." 1/2— Todd Spangler (@tsspangler) February 10, 2022
US @RepDebDingell on Ambassador Bridge blockade: "We need to reopen the bridge now, it’s as simple as that. I support the right to protest, but we can do so w/o impacting our economy and our workers... Hardworking Michigan families are feeling the brunt of this border closure"— Todd Spangler (@tsspangler) February 10, 2022