President Donald Trump praised NASCAR owners, drivers and fans Monday morning for not protesting during the national anthem before Sunday's race in New Hampshire.
"So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans," Trump tweeted. "They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag—they said it loud and clear!"
Team owners Richard Petty and Richard Hendricks said Sunday that they would fire employees who chose to demonstrate during the anthem.
“Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over,” Childress said when asked how he would react to an employee protest, per Brent James of USA Today. “I told them anyone who works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people have gave their lives for it. This is America.”
“Anybody that don’t stand up for that ought to be out of the country. Period,” Petty said. “If they don’t appreciate where they’re at … what got them where they’re at? The United States.”
The rhetoric of Petty and Childress echoes that of Trump, who has spent most of his weekend harping on the issue of anthem protests. He first made the comments that NFL players should be fired or suspended for kneeling or sitting during the anthem at a Friday campaign rally for senator Luther Strange in Alabama.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” Trump told a group of supporters.
“You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”
Trump has doubled down on his comments via Twitter each of the last three days, taking particular ire with NFL players. A record number of players sat or knelt in response to Trump's words Sunday, with many more linking arms in solidarity. Three teams (Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans) were not present for the anthem.
No NASCAR drivers or crew members were seen participating in any form of demonstration. However, Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR's most popular driver, seemingly responded to the controversy by posting a quote by President John F. Kennedy.
"All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable—JFK," the tweet read.