Trump calls NASCAR ‘noose’ controversy a hoax, says removal of Confederate flag lowered ratings

WASHINGTON (Gray News) - President Donald Trump is criticizing NASCAR in a Monday tweet, calling the “noose” found in Bubba Wallace’s garage at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama a hoax.

Trump also asked whether Wallace, the lone Black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, has apologized after a public show of support from teams before the June race. Wallace has been a vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“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.

The FBI determined the rope was tied in the manner it was in 2019, and there was no way the person who tied it would know Bubba Wallace would be assigned the same garage ahead of the June 2020 race. NASCAR President Steve Phelps said the organization took immediate action after seeing the rope because he felt Wallace was being threatened.

Wallace never saw the rope which prompted the federal investigation.

Trump also took aim at NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate flag at its events, saying fewer viewers are watching as a result.

Wallace tweeted a statement hours later calling the president’s comment hateful.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Trump’s tweet on Fox News, saying people should wait until facts come out before rushing to judgment.

McEnany addresses Trump’s tweet on Confederate flag, NASCAR

The Talladega race was postponed until Monday and received the highest TV ratings for a Monday event since a 2014 race at Daytona. Ratings were reportedly mixed during a doubleheader race at Pocono the week after, as NASCAR drivers raced on Saturday afternoon for the first time in 20 years before the traditional Sunday race. Both Pocono races were the lowest-rated weekend Cup Series races in 2020.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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