Trump also slammed NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag at its events.
Donald Trump on Monday demanded that Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's only Black driver, apologize after a noose was found in his garage.
"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!"
A noose was found in Wallace's garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in northeastern Alabama last month, prompting both an FBI investigation and an internal NASCAR review to see whether its placement was racially motivated.
The investigation found that the noose was not directed at Wallace, and had been in the garage since 2019.
"I was relieved, just like many others, to know that it wasn't targeted towards me," Wallace said during an appearance on the "Today Show" on June 24.
Wallace has been outspoken about social justice issues. He wore a shirt that read "I Can't Breathe — Black Lives Matter" at a race in June — a nod to the killing of George Floyd — and had Black Lives Matter painted onto his car for a race several days later.
And the incident with the noose wasn't a "hoax," as Trump claimed. There was indeed a noose hanging in the stall Wallace ended up assigned to at Talladega, and he was not the one who found it and reported it to NASCAR.
Trump has a history of attacking Black athletes who are outspoken about politics and social justice.
He falsely claimed that NFL players who took a knee during the national anthem are "unable to define" what they are protesting. In fact, they had made clear that they were protesting against police brutality and systemic racism.
Trump also mocked the intelligence of NBA All-Star LeBron James and said former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick should have been suspended for launching the protests during the playing of the national anthem before football games.
Aside from attacking Wallace, Trump also lamented the fact that NASCAR had banned the Confederate flag from its events.
"The presence of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry," NASCAR said in a statement on June 10.
The last state with a Confederate symbol in its flag, Mississippi, voted to remove it in the wake of protests against systemic racism that followed the killing of Floyd.
Trump has continued to support keeping the Confederate flag and other racist monuments and memorials.
In two speeches over the weekend, Trump said that removing such monuments dishonors United States history.
"We pay tribute to generations of American heroes whose names are etched on our monuments and memorials, and in the pages of history, and in the hearts of a very grateful people," Trump said in a speech on July Fourth at the White House. "We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children, or trample on our freedoms."
Republicans are worried that Trump's overt racism could not only cause Trump to lose but also take down other GOP candidates running in 2020.
Polls show voters disapprove of Trump's handling of race relations in the wake of protests against systemic racism. As Trump's poll numbers continue to drop against likely Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Republicans fear voters will punish them too, leading to what a GOP strategist called a "wipeout" in November.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.