Fact Check: The Truth Behind Claims Trump Waved at 'Nobody' at NASCAR Race

X user @margommartin
X user @margommartin

Claim:

A viral video authentically shows former U.S. President Donald Trump waving to "nobody" during his visit to the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Memorial Day Weekend 2024.

Rating:

Rating: Unproven
Rating: Unproven

Context:

The video is real, and was taken during Trump's visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26, 2024. But it's unclear whether he was waving at "nobody." There is a distant crowd in the background, and there could be a crowd behind him.

 

The last Sunday in May is sometimes referred to as the Greatest Day in Motorsport — avid racing fans in the U.S. can get up early to watch the Monaco Grand Prix, then flip over to the Indianapolis 500 and end the day with NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600.

On that day in 2024, at least one former U.S. president was enjoying some of the action. Donald Trump visited the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the running of the Coca-Cola 600. One particular clip of Trump at the racetrack went viral on social media sites like X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok because it appeared to show the former president waving to fans, except no fans could be seen. The president appeared to be surrounded by tarmac.

Snopes readers wrote in and asked us if the video was real. We were able to conclusively prove that the video was real, though it's unclear whether Trump was truly waving to "nobody," and if so, why.

We found plenty of evidence from multiple sources that confirmed Trump was at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600, with footage showing him greeting fans and talking with drivers. However, it took a while to eventually stumble on the viral clip, because as it turns out, Trump waving at a "non-existent crowd" is actually something that's been captured on video multiple times.

In this case, we eventually found the original video from sources on X. The video was posted by Margo Martin, Trump's deputy director of communications, on May 26, 2024, the day of the Coca-Cola 600. Given that the video came from a Trump campaign official who frequently posts videos of the former president on the campaign trail, we were able to confirm that the video was real.

This only confirms that the video was real, however. There were some people sitting in the grandstands; however, it's unclear whether Trump was waving to them, especially since they were so far away from him. Another counterargument is that there could simply be people Trump was waving to not shown in the video.

If he was waving to nobody (as he's been documented doing before), why he was doing so is a different story. One plausible explanation is that Trump's team was filming him waving in order to use it in future campaign advertisements, where editing techniques could make it look like Trump was waving to fans.

We should note these kinds of potential gaffes — waving at "nobody — are often used by political commentators on both sides of the aisle to suggest their unfavored candidate is senile and therefore unfit to hold the office of president.

Sources:

Lepore, Stephen M. "Trump Is Ridiculed over Footage of Him Waving to NASCAR Crowd." Mail Online, 27 May 2024, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-13462901/Trump-ridiculed-footage-waving-NASCAR-crowd-North-Carolina.html.

Noah Lewis. Donald Trump Attending NASCAR's Coca Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend. 2024. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPrV1aKFYbY.

Peter Stratta. Donald Trump Visits NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 to Honor Troops. 2024. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mHb8Ag7Z_U.

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