President Trump brings up national anthem during Martin Truex Jr.'s White House visit
President Donald Trump on Monday afternoon welcomed 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. and his Furniture Row Racing team to the White House.
And the president wasted little time in noting that "my good friend" NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France was an early supporter and, later in his remarks, making a point about NASCAR fans and the national anthem.
"At every NASCAR race you will see thousands of patriotic Americans, from the grandstands to the pit stalls, proudly waving our flag. … One thing I know about NASCAR and I will tell you, they do indeed stand for the playing of the national anthem," Trump said, touching on the hot-button issue for which he has blasted protesters from other sports, especially the NFL and, in particular, Colin Kaepernick.
"Somebody said, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t say that. It’s going to be controversial,’" Trump noted. "I said, ‘That’s OK. NASCAR isn’t going to mind it at all.’”
On a sun-splashed day in D.C., the president joked with Truex ("Does it ever get old, everybody chasing you?") and crew chief Cole Pearn ("How do you change those tires so fast? Are you born with that talent?").
But President Trump reserved special remarks for Truex's girlfriend, Sherry Pollex: "She is the love of Martin's life. … As you many of you know, Sherry has bravely battled ovarian cancer. She is an incredible woman. Sherry, your determination in the face of adversity has been an inspiration to millions of Americans who know what you're going through."
Moments later, Truex stepped to the microphone.
"What an honor it is to be here today," Truex said in his brief remarks. "Thank you, Mr. President for having us, our whole, entire team to represent the sport of NASCAR. … I'm just really proud to be here today to represent the sport and to represent our millions of fans across the world."
Truex then presented the president with a replica of the helmet the driver wore while winning the 2017 Cup Series title, "a helmet that's very special to me," Truex said to a round of applause before closing the ceremony by posing for pictures alongside President Trump.
Watch the president's and Truex's remarks below: