On Monday, July 6, President Donald Trump claimed NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace should "apologize" for the noose NASCAR officials found hanging from the garage door at his assigned area at Talladega Super Speedway.
Trump described the entire incident as a "hoax."
Wallace—the only Black driver currently in NASCAR and who received considerable backlash after NASCAR decided to ban Confederate flags at their races—made headlines when a noose was found hanging in the garage area he was assigned at Alabama's Talladega Super Speedway.
In the court of public opinion, people quickly divided into those supporting Wallace and those against. Some of those against Wallace were very vocal in their opposition leading to some public apologies.
Lost in the media furor were some important facts about what happened.
According to reports by NASCAR, state and federal authorities:
- a Petty Racing employee found the noose and immediately alerted a NASCAR official
- issue was elevated to NASCAR President Steve Phelps
- Phelps personally told Wallace and his team ownership about the noose
- Wallace never saw the noose the day it was found as the area had been immediately cordoned off and only knew of its existence because NASCAR told him
- FBI and NASCAR identified it was a noose made from a door pull rope
- every door pull was examined by the FBI and NASCAR and only one was fashioned into a noose
- after reviewing security footage, the FBI determined the noose had been there since at least October 2019
- the FBI ruled it was not a hate crime because it was not specifically directed at Wallace
- FBI stated it may still be a civil rights violation (workplace intimidation) which the DoJ has a history of prosecuting
- NASCAR is continuing their investigation to determine who created the noose, when and—if possible—why.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps stated and continues to state that Wallace had nothing to do with the noose.
The FBI and NASCAR also never wavered in their statement that it was a noose. But President Trump, in the midst of a global pandemic—felt accusing Wallace of perpetuating a "hoax"—was the best use of his time.
A hoax is defined as:
falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as the truth
Trump wrote on Twitter:
"Has [Bubba Wallace] 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?"
"That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!"
Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his sid… https://t.co/XGPapgYIAA— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1594038787.0
NASCAR responded to the President's false allegations with a response that many criticized as tepid.
"We are proud to have Bubba Wallace in the NASCAR family and we commend his courage and leadership."
"NASCAR continues to stand tall with Bubba, our competitors and everyone who makes our sport welcoming and inclusive for all racing fans."
Wallace—who had nothing to do with the placement of the noose at the Alabama racetrack or its discovery according to NASCAR and the FBI—responded to the President's baiting as well.
To the next generation and little ones following my foot steps.. #LoveWins https://t.co/tVaV3pkdLe— Bubba Wallace (@Bubba Wallace)1594060573.0
Wallace's statement read:
"Your words and actions will always be held to a higher standard than others. You have to be prepared for that."
"You don't learn these things in school. You learn them from trials and tribulations, the ups and downs this crazy world provides."
"You will always have people testing you. Seeing if they can knock you off your pedestal."
"I encourage you to keep your head held high and walk proudly on the path you have chosen. Never let anybody tell you you can't do something!"
"God put us all here for a reason. Find that reason and be proud of it and work your tails off every day towards it! All the haters are doing is elevating your voice and platform to greater heights!"
"Last thing, always deal with the hate being thrown at you with love! Love over hate every day. Love should come naturally as people are taught to hate."
"Even when it's hate from the POTUS."
NASCAR President Steve Phelps spoke out personally saying:
"The noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba."
"Based on the evidence we had, we thought our drivers—that one of our drivers had been threatened, a driver who had been extremely courageous in recent words and actions."
"It's our responsibility to react and investigate, and that's exactly what we did."
NEW: NASCAR driver Tyler Reddick fires back at Pres. Trump's call for an apology from Bubba Wallace: "We don’t need… https://t.co/9e21E1qXoi— ABC News (@ABC News)1594048598.0
"I don't think Bubba Wallace has anything to apologize for. Even though it was a noose created to hold a door open, in the times we live, there's a lot of anxiety."
"You saw the best in NASCAR. They all rallied to Bubba's side. I would be looking to celebrate that kind of attitude rather than being worried it's a hoax."
Trump attacks: Bubba Wallace Colin Kaepernick Elijah Cummings Barack Obama Don Lemon Maxine Waters There's a patt… https://t.co/aSGtlZIw6I— Wayne Slater (@Wayne Slater)1594073184.0
President Trump's claim that NASCAR's ratings have decreased following their decision to ban the Confederate flag was also a lie.
In fact, after the ban was announced, their ratings have "increased dramatically."
Trump is against Bubba Wallace. He’s against the Redskins changing their name. He’s against NASCAR and states remov… https://t.co/yHwB4B3WXW— Steven Beschloss (@Steven Beschloss)1594069040.0
People online had trouble finding a legitimate reason why the President would attack Wallace in this way while not condemning people like Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Why does trump reserve his worst vitriol for Bubba Wallace, whose team found a noose in his garage... ...but is ST… https://t.co/n014R4h9mP— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@BrooklynDad_Defiant!)1594051326.0
Trump is more critical of Bubba Wallace than of Vladimir Putin. https://t.co/U8NVrAvIIt— Bill Kristol (@Bill Kristol)1594039709.0
The president's attack on Bubba Wallace and his defense of the confederate flag were an overt display aimed at his… https://t.co/lqj6Z7Qnoz— Maggie Haberman (@Maggie Haberman)1594046113.0
For many, the writing was on the wall.
Trump attacks driver Bubba Wallace and demands he apologize to all other NASCAR drivers. Why because someone else… https://t.co/TtrRmRSpkl— Bryan Behar (@Bryan Behar)1594054272.0
PUTIN: [sets bounties for US troops] TRUMP: BUBBA WALLACE: [is Black] TRUMP: apologize— Jake Maccoby (@Jake Maccoby)1594047292.0
With the November election approaching, President Trump seems more focused on attacking Americans who disagree with him than helping the nation.