First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden appeared at the Homestead-Miami NASCAR Speedway to tell drivers to “start your engines,” but before they could, loud boos erupted from the crowd.
The two high-profile public figures were at NASCAR’s final race of the season to promote Joining Forces, a White House initiative to “give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned,” according to the website.
Although the two women attended the Florida NASCAR event to endorse a cause almost unanimously supported in the United States, the loud booing decried their efforts. The crowd’s derision could speak of the political climate of the country, the financial stress caused by economic issues, or simple dislike.
Not everyone felt there was booing at the noisy race, though.
A source that was part of the First Lady’s entourage told ABC News that there wasn’t any booing at the “loud chaotic program with jets flying over and tons of noise.”
Obama herself said that the NASCAR race was a great experience, and called the event, “amazing in terms of its support, not just today but every day, for military families,” according to AP.
ESPN’s footage of the event shows retired Army Sgt. Andrew Barry standing next to Obama, Dr. Biden, and his family proudly. Barry, who was wounded during his stints in Iraq and Afghanistan, garnered raucous applause when his name was announced, but when the two ladies’ names were called, the applause dissolved into heckling.
Despite the two Grand Marshall’s reception at the race, the pair received a standing ovation at the pre-race meeting with the racecar drivers.
Before that, a barbeque for veterans’ families was held, and while there, Mrs. Obama spoke out more on the mission of Joining Forces.
“Jill and I through Joining Forces, we want to make this a part of the dialogue in this country forever… This is about the way we want this country to talk about our troops, veterans and military families forever. We want you to feel that appreciation and that gratitude so that you know your sacrifice is not in vain,” reports ABC.