WASHINGTON (AP) — After a weekend spent stoking division, President Donald Trump on Monday went after NASCAR’s only Black driver and criticized its decision to ban the Confederate flag at its races and venues.
Exploiting racial tensions, Trump wrongly accused Bubba Wallace of perpetrating “a hoax” after one of his crew members discovered a rope shaped like a noose in a garage stall they had been assigned to. Federal authorities ruled last month that the rope had been hanging there since at least last October and was not a hate crime. Wallace has maintained the rope had been fashioned into a noose.
“Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX?” Trump tweeted. “That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!”
The tweet came after Trump used a pair of Independence Day speeches to dig deeper into America’s divisions by accusing protesters who have pushed for racial justice of engaging in a “merciless campaign to wipe out our history.” The remarks served as a direct appeal to the Republican president’s political base, including many disaffected white voters, with less than four months to go before Election Day.
One NASCAR driver is already clapping back at POTUS -- with Tyler Reddick saying, "We don’t need an apology."
"We did what was right and we will do just fine without your support."
24-year-old Reddick is a rising star in the sport and is a favorite to win the 2020 Rookie of the Year.
So, @BubbaWallace didn’t report the noose, never even saw the noose. NASCAR President Steve Phelps informed Bubba about it, hours after it was found— shortly before telling the media in a statement.— Dianne Gallagher (@DianneG) July 6, 2020
This was the “garage pull” NASCAR said it found in (only) the 43 garage https://t.co/HVEqzT0nP7 pic.twitter.com/f5yla4Itl8