Secretary Chao Champions Under 21-Year-Old Military Pilot Program In Awkward Interview

Washington, D.C. – Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, says she believes the trucking industry is suffering from “a real shortage” of truck drivers and she’s got a plan to fix it.

Chao was interviewed today by friend of Transportation Nation Network, Stuart Varney, on his Fox Business show Varney & Co. Chao said truck driving is “a very skilled job” and emphasized the “robust economy” was exacerbating the truck driver shortage.

Then the interview took a bit of an unexpectedly combative turn. Varney had an interesting exchange with Chao about the pilot program allowing military personnel under the age of 21 to operate commercial tractor-trailers in interstate commerce. Varney called the idea “not popular” and said “a lot of people are very worried.” Chao seemed a bit surprised but pushed back rhetorically asking,  “They are military personnel who drive these big hefty trucks in the military for all of us and yet they can’t drive across state lines commercially?” The grimace on Varney’s face gave his thoughts away though he did not voice them. She could see Varney was not won over so she continued making the case by saying “these are not inexperienced 18-year-olds.”

The interview then shifted gears to address the emergence of autonomous vehicles. He asked Secretary Chao whether the Trump Administration intends to have a “light touch” when regulating autonomous vehicles. Her response was interesting. “The government is not going to be top down command and control,” she said.  “Can you imagine anything more horrifying than to have the government dictate the rate of technological change? We would have no change at all.” You can watch more of Varney’s interview with Secretary Chao HERE.

 

Also at the White House today was a member of America’s Road Team, Captain David Boyer. The American Trucking Associations said he was there to “meet with President Trump and members of his administration about regulatory reform.” Below is a tweet picturing Boyer along with Secretary Chao, advisor to President Trump, Kellyanne Conway, and Linda McMahon, Administrator of the Small Business Administration.

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