President Donald Trump praised NASCAR fans and drivers for their patriotism while giving a not-so-subtle poke at the NFL.
“This lively sport reflects our national spirit and our can-do attitude,” Trump said during a South Lawn ceremony at the White House Monday honoring NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex, Jr.
“At every NASCAR race, you will see thousands of patriotic Americans, from the grandstands to the pit stalls, proudly waving our flag, and roaring with joy at the words ‘start your engines,’” Trump continued.
“And I will tell you one thing I know about NASCAR: They do indeed, Brian, stand for the playing of the national anthem. Right? They do indeed,” the president added, addressing NASCAR CEO Brian France who publicly endorsed Trump in 2016.
The president’s comment was also a thinly veiled shot at NFL players who refused to stand during the national anthem.
“Somebody said, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t say that, that’ll be controversial.’ I said, ‘That’s OK, NASCAR’s not going to mind at all,’” Trump said.
He praised Truex, his partner Sherry Pollex and crew chief Cole Pearn for the 2017 championship and received a replica of the helmet worn by the driver.
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“Does it get lonely being in front?” Trump asked Truex Jr., who replied no.
“I had the feeling he would say that. Thanks to incredible speed. Lightning fast pit stops, and exceptional driving this team stood alone among NASCAR many contenders,” Trump said.
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