White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany backed President Donald Trump’s NASCAR remarks and his reference to the incident involving Bubba Wallace as a “hoax.”
McEnany discussed the president’s tweet, in which he asked if the sport’s only black driver owed an apology, during an interview with Fox News on Monday.
Fox News anchor Sandra Smith brought up Trump’s tweet earlier on Monday, referring to the incident in late June in which what was thought to be a noose was found in Wallace’s garage stall ahead of a race in Talladega, Ala. More than a dozen FBI agents investigated the situation and determined that a “hate crime” had not been committed as the offending piece of rope had actually been a garage door pull which had been in place since last year.
Wallace, who has been driving a car decked out with “Black Lives Matter” messaging, took to Twitter after insisting that the rope was, in fact, a noose, declaring that despite no evidence of a hate crime being committed, and overreacting reports fanning the flames of division, the incident should not take away from a “show of unity,” referring to the tribute on the track.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 23, 2020
Trump asked if Wallace had “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!” the president added, referring to NASCAR’s decision to ban Confederate memorabilia from its events.
Trump gives new life to NASCAR’s ‘noose,’ asks if Bubba Wallace has apologized to drivers & officials https://t.co/5SJke1eBFK
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) July 6, 2020
Days after the controversy appeared to be dying down, Trump was “bringing it back in a brand-new tweet,” according to Smith on Monday.
“This was never determined to be a hoax,” the Fox News anchor said to McEnany.
“Is it helpful for the president to bring that back up, considering this is something obviously that the federal investigation weighed in on? He has done many interviews since then, but to determine it a hoax in a new tweet,” Smith added.
The press secretary reiterated that the investigation “definitively” determined that there was no hate crime committed.
“So NASCAR would note, their statement says that this garage pull rope was there since last fall,” she said.“And they also said definitively, the FBI investigation determined it, that there was no hate crime versus Bubba committed.”
“What the president is making is a broader point that this rush to judgment on the facts, before the facts are out, is not acceptable,” McEnany said. “We saw it with the Covington kids, we saw it with Jussie Smollett, and now we saw it in this case.”
“People are going to point out that that comparison is not fair,” Smith interrupted, apparently making the argument that while Smollett allegedly staged the hate crime against himself, Wallace was not the one who reported the rope.
“To call this a ‘hoax’ when he stands by that he truly believes that that’s what it was,” Smith noted.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation does not stand by that assessment,” McEnany continued. “The president is merely pointing out that we have to let the facts come out before we rush to judgments, and there was no hate crime committed against Bubba Wallace, as determined by the FBI and as noted in a NASCAR statement.”
“We will leave it there,” Smith said, ending the segment.
Author: Frieda Powers