President Donald Trump lashed out Monday at NASCAR and Black driver Bubba Wallace, falsely claiming that the sport’s defense of Wallace after he found a noose in his garage and its denouncement of the Confederate flag had lowered its television ratings.
Trump apparently was rankled that Wallace, 26, hasn’t apologized after the FBI determined a rope shaped like a noose that Wallace’s team found in his garage bay on June 21 did not signify a hate crime. The rope-pull on the garage door had been there since at least October, but the president claimed the incident was a hoax.
“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? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!” Trump tweeted Monday.
Prior to the incident, Wallace began speaking out in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement after the police-custody death of George Floyd, calling on NASCAR to ban the Confederate flags at its events.
NASCAR, which has defended Wallace throughout the investigation and banned the flags amid the Floyd-related protests, issued a statement Monday saying the organization “continues to stand tall with Bubba.”
“We are proud to have Bubba Wallace in the NASCAR family and we commend his courage and leadership,” the statement said.
For his part, Wallace said he was “relieved” by the FBI’s finding that he wasn’t being targeted.
“But it’s still frustrating to know that people are always going to test you and always just going to try and debunk you, and that’s what I’m trying to wrap my head around now,” he said on NBC’s “Today” last month.