Trump's Toying With David Duke Endorsement, Claim He Doesn't Know What the KKK Is, Should Force Coca-Cola, Ford, Sprint to Reconsider NASCAR Sponsorships
Donald Trump on Sunday refused to denounce the KKK or former Grand Wizard David Duke, who had endorsed the GOP frontrunner earlier in the week. On Monday, the CEO of NASCAR, a private, family owned business, endorsed Donald Trump for the presidency of the United States.
Sure, after a media uproar, Trump on Monday covered his tracks, saying he denounced Duke, but he also claimed he did not know what white supremacy was during his CNN interview Sunday morning, and it would be "wrong" to denounce white supremacist groups without "research," just two days before the Super Tuesday primaries – many of which are in Southern states.
Trump's anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric was so ugly and shocking to America when he began his White House run in June that less than a month later, NASCAR actually denounced Trump.
Times have changed, and Trump's ever-increasing popularity seven months later has in fact made being anti-immigrant, anti-gay, misogynistic, xenophobic, and fascist A-OK with a wide swath of the American electorate – hence the embrace of Trump by not only NASCAR CEO Bill France, but several past and present NASCAR drivers yesterday:
NASCAR is a huge business. Now in its 68th year, NASCAR's "top ten teams are now worth an average $148 million and generated nearly $1 billion in combined revenue last season," Forbes reported last month.
But will the fact that Trump's message, as The New York Times reported Monday, "resonates with white supremacists," force NASCAR's top sponsors to pull out of racing – or, at least, pull out of NASCAR?
Can top international brands afford to be linked to a political campaign steeped in fascism and white supremacy? Brands like 3M, Coca-Cola, Coors Light, Ford, Goodyear, HP, M&Ms, Mobil1, Nabisco, Nationwide, Sherwin Williams, SiriusXM, Sprint, Sunoco, Toyota, VISA, and XFinity – to name a few? Above and below, the full list of NASCAR official sponsors.
One top NASCAR sponsor has already voiced upset.
"Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis, a Lebanese-born entrepreneur who stars in the television reality show 'The Profit,' wrote a letter to NASCAR last summer that neither he nor any of his employees would attend the banquet of the series he sponsors -- the Camping World Truck Series -- if it was held at the Trump National Doral Miami resort because of Trump's comments about immigrants. NASCAR relocated the banquet," ESPN reported late Monday night.
Lemonis on Monday aired his upset via Twitter:
There is no place for politics/any political endorsements in any business. Your customers and employees should have their own mind. #period— Marcus Lemonis (@marcuslemonis) March 1, 2016
Immediately upon hearing news of the NASCAR endorsement of Trump, concerns were being voiced on social media:
Amazing that in less than a year NASCAR went from wanting to get rid of Confederate Flags to endorsing Donald Trump.— Will McAvoy (@WillMcAvoyACN) March 1, 2016
NASCAR summer 2015: Trump is bad for business. We are dumping Trump.@NASCAR today: We endorse Donald Trump!— Angelo Carusone (@GoAngelo) February 29, 2016
NASCAR supporting Donald Trump is supporting racism at its worst, your fans will not tolerate that. I won't be called a racist NASCAR fan— Donnie gray (@Donniegray12) March 1, 2016
Image, top: Screenshot via YouTube