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Trump Invokes National Anthem Controversy at White House NASCAR Event: ‘They Do Indeed Stand’

President Donald Trump dredged up the national anthem controversy Monday during a NASCAR event on the White House South Lawn, praising the thousands of fans who show up at races and who “do indeed stand” for the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.

Trump welcomed NASCAR champion Martin Truex Jr. and his team to the White House for what was  — for the most part —  a noncontroversial and nonpartisan event. But Trump, never missing an opportunity to ruffle some feathers, invoked into the celebratory atmosphere an issue that has divided millions of Americans.

“Many of you know NASCAR grew from the back roads of America’s south and the bright shores of Daytona Beach to become one of the world’s premier and the most beloved sports… This lively sport reflects our national spirit and our can-do attitude. 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 said.

“And I will tell you one thing I know about NASCAR,” the president added, “they do indeed stand for the playing of the national anthem.” Trump then noted that someone told him he “shouldn’t say that because it would “be controversial.” However, Trump didn’t seem to care.

“I said that’s okay. NASCAR’s not going to mind it at all. Right, fellas? They don’t mind it at all,” Trump said.

Last year, at the height of the controversy surrounding athletes standing for the national anthem, many NASCAR drivers and executives indicated they agreed with the president that athletes should stand. However, NASCAR, as an organization, took a slightly different approach.

NASCAR tweeted a statement in which it acknowledged that “we live in a country of unparalleled freedoms and countless liberties, including the right to peacefully express one’s opinion.”

Watch the President’s comments above, via Fox News.

[image via screengrab]

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