President Trump demanded Monday an apology from Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's only Black driver, after the FBI determined last month that he was not a target of a hate crime when a noose was found in his garage stall before a race.
Why it matters: The president's focus on kicking off a culture war is set to be a cornerstone of his 2020 campaign, often hinging on his opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement. As Axios' Jonathan Swan told the "Axios Today" podcast, "The ugly reality of this election is that, in some instances, it's going to look like a race war."
What he's saying: "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? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!" Trump tweeted.
Reality check: Wallace's initial claim was not a "HOAX," as the president described.
- Wallace was not the one who found the noose in the garage and did not report it, per an AL.com timeline of events.
- While the FBI determined that the noose had been in place as a garage pull rope in a Talladega garage since October 2019 and thus was not intended for Wallace, NASCAR's president confirmed that it "was real" and that it moved quickly to launch an investigation in order to "protect" its driver.
The big picture: The incident came just after NASCAR banned the display of the Confederate flag at all of its events and properties.