President Donald Trump on Monday blasted NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag and wrongly accused the sport’s only Black driver, Bubba Wallace, of perpetrating “a hoax” involving a rope shaped like a noose in his garage.
(Trump says NASCAR ratings are down after NASCAR banned the Confederate Flag at their speedways, but the ratings were way up, for Martinsville….CLICK HERE for that report.)
Exploiting racial tensions, Trump suggested Wallace should apologize after one of his crew members discovered the rope 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 and has said he was saddened by “the despicable act of racism and hatred,” and other Cup Series drivers rallied around him.
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.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the president’s decision to wade into the Wallace case, saying in an interview on Fox News Channel that, “The president’s merely pointing out that we’ve got to let facts come out before we jump to judgment.”
Wallace, an Alabama native, has taken an active role in the push for racial equality. He has worn a shirt saying “I Can’t Breathe,” raced with a Black Lives Matter paint scheme in Virginia and successfully lobbied for NASCAR’s Confederate flag ban.
While Trump claimed NASCAR’s ratings are down, they are actually up.