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Trump Calls For NASCAR Driver Bubba Wallace To Apologize Over Noose ‘Hoax’

NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace stands during the national anthem before a NASCAR auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, on Sunday.

Darron Cummings/AP


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Darron Cummings/AP

NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace stands during the national anthem before a NASCAR auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, on Sunday.

Darron Cummings/AP

President Trump followed up a pair of divisive speeches over the holiday weekend on Monday by castigating NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag and calling on its only African American driver to apologize for “a hoax” involving a rope fashioned into a noose that the FBI later determined was not a hate crime.

The president’s comments — in the form of a tweet about NASCAR and driver Bubba Wallace — were the latest in a series of inflammatory statements Trump has made that seem aimed at stoking his base, even as his job approval numbers hovered at their lowest-ever level amid racial tensions over the death of George Floyd and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“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!” the president tweeted Monday morning.

Last month, members of Wallace’s team discovered the noose, which was found on the door of an infield garage stall assigned to the driver at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

The following day, in a show of solidarity with Wallace, NASCAR drivers and teams pushed his No. 43 car down pit road at the speedway.

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However, FBI investigators later announced that the noose had been hanging in the garage since the last big race at the speedway in October, well before it was assigned to Wallace, and that the incident did not constitute a hate crime.

Wallace, who has been a vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter protest movement and had called for banning the Confederate flag from NASCAR events, has accepted the FBI’s conclusions about the incident.

Following Trump’s tweet on Monday, NASCAR reiterated its support for Wallace in a tweet of its own, saying: “We are proud to have Bubba Wallace in the NASCAR family and we commend his courage and leadership. NASCAR continues to stand tall with Bubba, our competitors and everyone who makes our sport welcoming and inclusive for all racing fans.”

Despite Trump’s tweet, White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany said the president was not taking a position on NASCAR’s removal of the Confederate flag, but she defended his call for an apology from Wallace.

“The FBI … has concluded that this was not a hate crime and he believes it would go a long way if Bubba came out and acknowledged this as well,” she told reporters.



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