President Donald Trump criticized NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace on Monday morning, suggesting a noose found in his race car’s garage two weeks ago was a “hoax” and questioning why an apology wasn’t given.
The FBI conducted an investigation into the noose that was found in Wallace’s No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway on June 21, and determined the incident was not a federal crime because the noose was found in the same garage as early as October 2019.
Wallace did not find the noose himself and NASCAR initially condemned the incident as a hate crime. Wallace said he received backlash after the FBI report became public, to which he said in a CNN interview: “I’m mad because people are trying to test my character.”
Trump tweeted Monday morning: “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 was also critical of NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate flag from all events. Wallace helped spearhead a movement pushing for the flag to be removed from the sport because of its racial insensitivity.
“That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!” Trump added.
NASCAR’s ratings had been temporarily delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The viewership on Fox networks is up +8% since returning from its pandemic hiatus on May 17.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Trump’s comments as being more broad.
“What the president is making is a broader point that this rush to judgment on the facts, before the facts, is unacceptable,” she said.