President Donald Trump arrived at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday in preparation for the season-opening Daytona 500. He was named the grand marshal of this event and was given the honor of telling the drivers to start their engines and later leading a pace lap. However, he departed the speedway during a rain delay, greatly angering users on social media.
Jeff Gluck of The Athletic spotted Air Force One taking off shortly after Trump took a lap around the Daytona International Speedway in The Beast. The departure took place amid the rain delay, meaning that he had not witnessed Dale Earnhardt Jr. waving the green flag as the honorary starter.
"Yeah, big NASCAR fan..............couldn't even wait for the start of the race. Your taxpayer dollars at work," one user on social media wrote on Sunday. The sight of Air Force One taking off was frustrating to some and laughable to others. Although some were slightly confused by the entire sequence of events.
"wait, wait wait wait...he just showed up to do some laps (holding up the start) and then leaves before lap 1 even starts??" one inquisitive user asked. They couldn't believe that Trump was only around for a brief period of time and didn't actually watch the race.
Of course, there were some NASCAR fans that were just happy to see the plane departing. They didn't believe that it was a coincidence that the rain stopped after Air Force One left. These Twitter users actually blamed Trump for the inclement weather that caused the rain delay, so they were relieved when he left. In their opinion, the race could finally take place after the long delay.
According to reporter Jon Alba, this premature departure was actually planned before Air Force One landed in Florida. Trump wasn't scheduled to stay at the Daytona 500 for very much time despite being named the grand marshal. Having the rain delay just expedited the process.
"For clarification: President Trump was seemingly going to stay for at least a few laps, but there was a rain delay almost immediately after he told the drivers to start their engines. Lasted about 45 minutes," Alba wrote on Sunday.
This premature departure may have been planned, but that did not prevent the heated discussions taking place on Twitter. Some users were mad that Trump left early and felt that it was a bad look for his re-election. Others came to his defense and said that he must have a busy Sunday schedule.
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