President Donald Trump attacked driver Bubba Wallace and NASCAR in a tweet Monday morning, baselessly alleging that Wallace perpetuated a "hoax" when a rope fashioned as a noose was found in his garage.
The president also criticized NASCAR's decision to ban the Confederate flag from races, claiming it had led to low ratings.
"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 is NASCAR's only Black full-time driver. In late June, NASCAR announced it had found a noose in Wallace's garage at Talladega International Speedway, days after the organization—partially at Wallace's urging—had banned the Confederate flag from races. (Wallace did not find or report the noose.)
An FBI investigation determined that the noose was in the garage as early as October 2019, U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI special agent Johnnie Sharp Jr. said in a joint statement. NASCAR issued a statement saying that a rope fashioned like a noose had been in the garage since at least last fall.
A photo released on June 25 showed a noose hanging in the garage.
Ahead of the Geico 500, NASCAR drivers rallied around Wallace before the race and pushed his No. 43 car down the track to the front of the field in support.
Wallace issued a statement Monday encouraging the "next generation" to choose love over hate.
"Your words and actions will always be held to a higher standard than others," Wallace said. "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've chosen."
Wallace added: "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..Love wins."