Rain, Bloomberg Wash Out Donald Trump's Daytona 500 Visit
Aside from beating impeachment charges that would've removed a president in any functioning democracy, poor Donald Trump just can't catch a break. Trump devoted his Sunday to cavorting with the common man at the Daytona 500 in Florida. He even brought Melania, who obviously would've preferred to be anywhere else (and with anyone else). The president and first lady flew in from Mar-a-Lago on Air Force One for what he probably hoped would serve as a free campaign ad.
Trump was named grand marshal and gave one of his usual, awful rally-style speeches, but FOX — the broadcast network, not the fake news channel — cut away to commercial. Trump supporters online were offended that a commercial network ran commercials instead of the president's gibberish, which would've turned up later on YouTube for free anyway. One Twitter user raged that "commies owned the media," and that's why paid advertising bumped Trump.
Fox News, of course, aired Trump's speech in its original dumb ass, but non-loyal, state media viewers didn't miss much.
TRUMP: For 500 heart-pounding miles, these fierce competitors will chase the checkered flag, fight for the Harley J. Earl Trophy and make their play for pure American glory ... To each of them and to every service member and veteran here today, as commander in chief of the greatest fighting force on the planet, a force that just spent $2.5 trillion on rebuilding our military, I want to thank you for your service. Now we approach the moment that you've all been waiting for. Soon, the cars will take to the track for the start, tires will screech, rubber will burn, fans will scream and the Great American Race will begin.
Was he describing a NASCAR race or a 1970s disaster film? Later, the Trumps took a "historic" lap around the speedway in the armored presidential limo supposed adults named "The Beast." This was also bumped for a commercial, specifically a campaign ad for Mike Bloomberg that mercilessly mocked the president. The ad depicted Trump as a broken-down race car that nobody loves. It's a savvy ad buy targeted at one of Trump's key demos, but some conservatives were quick to imply that Bloomberg advertising during the "Great American Race" was morally offensive. Bloomberg is a New York "elite" and Trump is from the American midwestern heartland of midtown Manhattan.
Michael Bloomberg having a commercial on The Daytona 500 is kinda like Luciano Pavorotti singing The Wabash Canon B… https://t.co/TKbzdMIZeg— Charlie Daniels (@Charlie Daniels)1581882952.0
I have no idea what Charlie Daniels' tweet means. It reads like one of Dennis Miller's current events Mad Libs jokes from the late 1990s. Trump also ran a campaign ad during the race, which I won't link to because it's full of lies.
Amber Athey praised Trump's NASCAR "spectacle" in a column for Spectator USA that I had trouble distinguishing from satire.
The contrast between thousands of blue-collar NASCAR fanatics rooting for Trump and the elite lobbyist and politician class in DC booing him only bolsters the president's claim that he is working on behalf of 'real America'. Ahead of the 2020 election, it may leave his base feeling they chose the right person to take on the swamp.
Trump's very presence upset the heavens. There were two rain delays totaling more than three hours until the race was finally postponed until today at 4 p.m. This is only the second time that the Daytona 500 finished on a Monday. Republicans would've impeached Barack Obama for this.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."