Bubba Wallace is responding to Donald Trump’s unproven claim that he was part of a “hoax” after a noose-shaped rope was found in his NASCAR garage, calling on people to choose love over hate — even when that hate is coming from the president of the United States.
On Monday, Trump took to Twitter to question why Wallace had not apologized for the claim that a noose was found in his NASCAR garage. Wallace, the sport’s only Black driver, had been a target for some criticism after he called on the organization to ban the display of the Confederate flag at races. The allegation that a noose was found in his garage prompted an FBI investigation, which ultimately concluded that it was actually a garage pull that had been there since last year, and was not meant to target the driver.
Despite the lack of evidence of such, Trump’s tweet insinuated that Wallace was part of a hoax, even though he himself had never reported or even seen the rope. The president came under widespread criticism for his accusations, and Wallace responded hours later to call for people to rise above the negativity.
“Love over hate every day,” he tweeted. “Love should come naturally as people are TAUGHT to hate. Even when it’s HATE from the POTUS.”
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) July 6, 2020
As ESPN noted, other NASCAR drivers have come to Wallace’s defense as well, saying there is no need for him to apologize. Tyler Reddick, the driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, said in a later deleted tweet that the sport did not need Trump’s support.
“We don’t need an apology. We did what was right and we will do just fine without your support,” he wrote.
Others have called out the president for what they see as racism in the tweet, which also included a claim that NASCAR’s ratings were down because of the noose incident and the decision to ban displays of the Confederate flag at races.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was pressed about Trump’s comments during a press event on Monday, with reporters repeatedly asking why the president believes that Wallace had to apologize for the incident. McEnany said that Trump was attempting to make a larger point about rushing to judgment, comparing the noose allegation to other racially charged incidents that turned out to be false but not directly saying why an apology from the driver was needed.