Petty Controversy

Petty controversy: Donald Trump vs. the Indy 500

Donald Trump dramatically bows out as the pace car driver for this month's Indianapolis 500. Is he just too busy — or did the blustery billionaire cave to public pressure?

The controversy: Donald Trump has backed out of a key responsibility — driving the pace car at the Indianapolis 500 later this month. The Donald told Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials on Thursday that business obligations and his tentative presidential campaign had made it "impossible" for him to command a Chevrolet Camaro as planned. But is it that simple? The invitation to Trump had sparked "a groundswell" of protest, including a "Bump Trump" page on Facebook with more than 18,000 "Likes." A group of local Baptist ministers also felt Trump was unfit to grip a steering wheel, citing his "petulant, poisonous and racist remarks" regarding President Obama's birth certificate and school records.
The reaction:
Does anyone "actually believe" that Trump's decision to pull out had "nothing to do with the mounting tide of opposition?" asks Lou Harry in the Indianapolis Business Journal. Of course not, and this is "certainly a victory for those who felt a polarizing, hyper-partisan, and arguably racist celebrity such as Donald Trump had no business participating in the Indy 500," says Curt Matlock at Daily Kos. OK, so The Donald "was a silly choice" to drive the pace car, but it's even worse that officials "got cold feet" and asked Trump to back out, says Kent Sterling at his blog. "His presence would have prompted a response equally positive and negative" — but at least it would have had people talking about the Indy 500.

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