Trump rips NASCAR for banning Confederate flag and targets Black driver Bubba Wallace

Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 World Wide Technology Chevrolet, walks the grid previous to the NASCAR Cup Series Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 Powered by Big Machine Records at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 05, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Chris Graythen | Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Monday lashed out on the NASCAR Cup sequence’ solely Black driver and criticized the auto-racing league’s resolution to ban the Confederate flag from its occasions and properties.

Trump requested in a tweet if the driver, 26-year-old Bubba Wallace, has “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 was referring to findings that a noose present in Wallace’s storage was a pull rope and not meant to intimidate the driver. It was not dominated a hoax, because the president claims.

“That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!” the president added in a reference to NASCAR’s transfer final month to ban displaying the Confederate battle flag from all occasions and properties.

The flag has been generally displayed at NASCAR races for many years. NASCAR in 2015 had requested that followers not fly the flag following the slaughter in Charleston, South Carolina, of 9 Black churchgoers by racist Dylan Roof, however many followers had ignored that request.

Wallace, the one Black full-time driver on the NASCAR Cup circuit, has been an outspoken critic of the Confederate flag and has referred to as on the racing group to “get them out of” occasions. “No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” Wallace mentioned final month.

Days later, NASCAR introduced that “The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”

The White House declined CNBC’s request for touch upon the president’s tweet concerning the Confederate flag. The Trump marketing campaign didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Wallace had additionally spoken out after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for greater than seven minutes. Floyd’s demise, which was captured on video, set off a wave of large protests throughout the nation.

The driver in June wore a shirt bearing the phrases “I Can’t Breathe/Black Lives Matter” earlier than a race in Atlanta.

Later that month, NASCAR introduced {that a} noose had been present in Wallace’s storage stall at a race in Talladega, Alabama, and that it had launched an investigation.

The discovery instantly bred hypothesis that the noose was an act of retaliation. “There is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all,” the group mentioned in a press release on the time.

Wallace, too, weighed in, tweeting that “the despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism.”

A marketing campaign signal for U.S. President Donald Trump sits beside a Confederate flag bearing the phrases “I ain’t coming down” within the yard of a house in Sandston, Virginia, U.S., July 4, 2020.

Kevin Lemarque | Reuters

But the FBI decided that the noose had been common as a pull-rope for the door of the storage and had been positioned there since as early as fall 2019. 

U.S. Attorney Jay Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. mentioned its investigation decided “nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week.”

The FBI concluded that no crime had been dedicated.

Contrary to Trump’s tweet, NASCAR’s scores have truly elevated in comparison with earlier years, in line with Speed Report.

The controversy over symbols of the Confederacy – the group of southern states that seceded from the U.S. over slavery and fought in opposition to the Union within the Civil War – got here amid a nationwide reckoning over race and police brutality within the wake of the deaths of Floyd and different Black males and ladies in police custody. 

Activists have referred to as for states and localities to take away public statues of historic figures they view as problematic. Some statues have already been defaced or torn down by protesters. Trump has been a vocal critic of the motion, decrying “anarchists” who hurt memorials and sending threatening jail time for those that take part.

In his Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota over the weekend, Trump denounced what he described as a “left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution.”

“To make this possible, they are determined to tear down every statue, symbol and memory of our national heritage,” Trump mentioned.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s the presumptive Democratic nominee within the 2020 election, took a extra nuanced view, saying at a current press convention that he believes Confederate monuments may very well be moved to museums.

The debate over the flag particularly has not been restricted to NASCAR. Mississippi’s Republican governor final week signed into legislation the choice to alter the state’s flag, which bears the “stars and bars” design of the Confederate flag.

This is breaking information. Please test again for updates.

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