COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND—At first, ardently MAGA trucker Bob Bolus vowed that his makeshift “freedom convoy” making a beeline from Scranton, Pennsylvania to D.C. this week would “choke” the nation’s capital like a boa constrictor in protest of vaccine mandates.
But on Wednesday, when his overhyped convoy turned out to be a piddly procession of one, Bolus backtracked, telling The Daily Beast that his plans have changed and he will not attempt to interfere with traffic.
“We’re not putting a chokehold on D.C. today,” the Pennsylvania-based trucker, who in 2012 served prison time for insurance fraud, told The Daily Beast by phone shortly after noon. But he said he still has hopes of one day disrupting Beltway traffic: “Not to say that it wouldn’t happen in the very near future. It’s just going to be an idea of what’s to come.”
This particular wing of the convoy movement was originally slated to arrive in the D.C. metro area around noon, with the hopes of causing a gridlock blockade like the Canadian anti-vaccine mandate trucker demonstration that caused chaos in Ottawa until it was dispersed by police. Earlier this week, the Pentagon approved the use of nearly 700 National Guard personnel to assist local authorities with the possibility of multiple convoys blocking up the D.C. area.
But now, as Bolus confessed to The Daily Beast, his tiny convoy will just “peacefully” sit in Beltway traffic and not attempt to cause any such backup.
“We’re going to go with the flow. Today we’re going to go with the flow of traffic,” a defeated Bolus told The Daily Beast. “If they go at two miles an hour, we will be at two miles an hour.”
As of midday Wednesday, there were merely eight vehicles in his group, as reported by Reuters producer Julio-César Chávez, who has been traveling with the Bolus convoy.
The singular 18-wheeler driven by Bolus has several SUV and pickup-driving supporters in tow, but otherwise, according to Chávez, all other big-rigs on the road have driven past the convoy. The group‘s voyage began with a delay after Bolus got two flat tires, ABC 7 News reported.
Earlier this week, Bolus garnered heavy press attention for his convoy after telling Fox 5 D.C. that he intends to “shut down” the Capital Beltway, likening his alleged group of truckers to a deadly boa, which “squeezes you, chokes you, and it swallows you—and that’s what we’re going to do to D.C.”
The trucker has built a small following on Facebook for his pro-Trump antics, but some of his followers seemed skeptical of the convoy idea from the start. “I’m in agreement with this cause, but I have to warn you that the quickest way to lose that support in the DC region is to disrupt business and people’s commute worse than it already is,” one such supporter wrote.
One day before departing for D.C., Bolus broadened the convoy movement’s anti-vaccine mandate protest to include grievances like the death of Jan. 6 Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt, the teaching of “critical race theory” in schools, and rising fuel costs.
Asked whether his tiny caravan of a single tractor-trailer and several gas-guzzling SUVs is needlessly burning through that increasingly expensive fuel, Bolus said no.
“We don’t consider it a waste of gas or anything else,” he asserted. “We as Americans feel we are standing up for our rights.”
On Wednesday evening, Bolus, his sidekick Betsy Green and their 18-wheeler arrived in the Northern Virginia area, only to quickly become lost.
In a series of phone conversations with The Daily Beast over nearly three hours, the circular I-495 Beltway got the best of the duo who couldn’t find their way and got stuck in rush-hour traffic.
“You are not going to see a convoy,” Green admitted near the end of the night. As for Bolus, the lead convoy driver, Green declared that he didn’t “know where in the hell he is.”
Both Green and Bolus, expressing disappointment over the day’s events, said they intended to leave the metro area Wednesday night and head back to Scranton.
“This is just one battle in the war,” Green added while saying they were going to try and locate I-270 to get back home.