Trump lashes out at NASCAR, Bubba Wallace over Confederate flag decision, noose incident

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump Monday tweeted about NASCAR‘s only Black driver and criticized its decision to ban the Confederate flag at its races and venues.

Trump accused Bubba Wallace of perpetrating “a hoax” after one of his crew members discovered a rope shaped like a noose in a garage stall they had been assigned to.

Federal authorities ruled last month that the rope had been hanging there since at least last October and was not a hate crime. Wallace has maintained the rope had been fashioned into a noose.

“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. “That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!”

Wallace responded on Twitter with a note to “the next generation and little ones following my foot steps” in which he urged people to use their platform and not be detracted by “hate being thrown at you.”

“Love should come naturally as people are TAUGHT to hate,” Wallace tweeted. “Even when it’s HATE from the POTUS .. Love wins.”

Wallace, an Alabama native, has taken an active role in the push for racial equality. He has worn a shirt saying “I Can’t Breathe,” raced with a Black Lives Matter paint scheme in Virginia and successfully lobbied for NASCAR‘s Confederate flag ban.

For more than 70 years, the flag was a common and complicated sight at NASCAR races. The series first tried to ban the Confederate flag five years ago but did nothing to enforce the order.

While Trump claimed NASCAR’s ratings are down, they are actually up.

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