Trump attacks NASCAR and Bubba Wallace over Confederate flag banning, noose incident

President Donald Trump on Monday took aim at NASCAR’s Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, a prominent Black driver, falsely claiming on Twitter that the sport’s recent anti-racist stance had lowered its television 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!”

Utilizing his Twitter account on Monday to criticize NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag and separately two sports teams considering changing their names, Trump demonstrated his eagerness to make his views on race a central part of his re-election campaign amid the growing national conversation after George Floyd’s death on May 25 in police custody.

In a statement posted on his Twitter page, Wallace framed his response as advice to young people, saying, “All the haters are doing is elevating your voice and platform to much greater heights!”

“Last thing, always deal with hate being thrown at you with LOVE!” he said. “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.”

NASCAR drivers have rallied to support Wallace. NASCAR Cup Series driver Tyler Reddick tweeted in response to Trump, “We don’t need an apology.”

“We did what was right and we will do just fine without your support,” he continued. The tweet was later deleted.

NASCAR released a statement saying the organization “continues to stand tall with Bubba.”

“We are proud to have Bubba Wallace in the NASCAR family and we commend his courage and leadership,” the statement said.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Fox News said Trump’s tweet was part of a “broader point” about the “rush to judgment.”

“The president is merely pointing out that we have to let facts come out before we rush to judgment,” she said.

Reporters grilled McEnany over the tweet during Monday’s press briefing, questioning her about Trump’s claim that banning the Confederate flag was bad for ratings.

McEnany said Trump was not taking a stance on the Confederate flag nor whether it was a good or bad decision for NASCAR to ban it. Instead, McEnany argued that that “NASCAR men and women” are “being called racist” and that Trump was defending them.

“He stands against the demonization of Americans and he stands firmly on the side of preserving our history,” she said.

Asked whether a Confederate flag would be permitted at a Trump rally, McEnany said the campaign does not allow flags other than official Trump campaign gear into rallies. Trump campaign national deputy press secretary Courtney Parella confirmed the policy to NBC News, saying, “We do not permit rally attendees to bring their own signage or displays of any kind and only allow approved rally signs inside our events.”

Speaking with Fox News Radio, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and a prominent Trump ally, said he didn’t think Wallace “has anything to apologize for.”

“You saw the best in NASCAR,” he said. “When there was a chance that it was a threat against Bubba Wallace, they all rallied to Bubba’s side. So I would be looking to celebrate that kind of attitude more than being worried about it being a hoax.”

Since NASCAR announced a ban on the Confederate flag last month, the sport has seen a boost in television ratingsOvernight ratings following the sport’s June race at Martinsville, Virginia, which immediately followed the banning announcement, were up 104 percent over a comparable 2019 race.

The Talladega race in Alabama later in June, where the noose incident Trump referred to happened, rated as the most-watched Monday contest in years. NASCAR has also benefited from being one of the few live events on TV, as most other sports remain idled in the U.S. due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Before Talladega, a door-pull rope shaped like a noose was found in Wallace’s assigned garage, raising questions about whether it had been placed there intentionally in response to his outspokenness in support of banning the Confederate flag at NASCAR events. Fellow NASCAR drivers marched alongside his car in a show of unity afterward. The FBI investigated the incident and ruled out a hate crime, citing video evidence showing the rope was in the stall months before it was assigned to Wallace. NASCAR released a photo of the rope to dispel the idea it was a hoax.

“I was relieved just like many others to know that it wasn’t targeted towards me,” Wallace told Craig Melvin on NBC’s “TODAY” last month. “But it’s still frustrating to know that people are always going to test you and always just going to try and debunk you, and that’s what I’m trying to wrap my head around now.”

As a politician, Trump’s history with NASCAR dates to early in his presidential campaign when he won the endorsement of the sport’s top leadership. At this year’s Daytona 500, Trump took the presidential limo on the track as a pace car before the race began. And at this weekend’s Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis, one driver began racing in a fully decked-out pro-Trump branded car. He crashed a few laps into the race.

This weekend, Trump delivered a lengthy speech on defending statues from being removed or torn down and has increasingly bashed protesters.

Recent tweets have also gotten the president into hot water, such as when he promoted and then deleted a video showing an apparent Trump supporter shouting “white power.”

The White House said he didn’t hear the comment when he posted.

[NBC News]

Trump Says He May End Housing Desegregation Rule

President Donald Trump said he may get rid of a fair housing rule originally designed to desegretate neighborhoods, which some say in practice simply means building more housing. His administration has been trying to revise an Obama-era regulation on how to enforce the Civil Rights-era law; opponents say it’s an effort to weaken the rules.

Trump in a Twitter post though suggested he may want to go further. “At the request of many great Americans who live in the Suburbs, and others, I am studying the AFFH housing regulation that is having a devastating impact on these once thriving Suburban areas,” Trump said in a tweet. “Not fair to homeowners, I may END!” Trump didn’t offer additional details about his plans.

[Bloomberg]

Trump says he made Juneteenth ‘very famous’

President Trump said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that he made Juneteenth, the annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery, “very famous” by originally scheduling a campaign rally on the date.

“I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Trump told the Journal in an interview Wednesday, referencing the news coverage of the planned rally that was moved to a later date. “It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”

Trump was widely criticized for scheduling the rally on June 19 in Tulsa, Okla., the site of one of the bloodiest acts of racial violence in 1921, with many critics charging that it was a racially insensitive decision.

Trump eventually postponed the rally, acknowledging “many” of his African American friends and supporters had reached out asking him to change the date.

Juneteenth has been a day to mark the end of slavery in the United States for more than 150 years and is recognized as a holiday in 47 states and the District of Columbia.

Trump told the Journal that a black Secret Service agent informed him of the meaning of Juneteenth. He also claimed he polled those around him and none had heard of the annual holiday. Trump was surprised to learn from an aide during the interview with the Journal that the White House put out a statement marking the occasion last year.

“Oh, really? We put out a statement? The Trump White House put out a statement?” Trump said. “OK, OK. Good.”

Trump’s Tulsa rally is scheduled to take place on Saturday evening, marking his first campaign rally since March. It is expected to draw a substantial crowd to Tulsa’s BOK Center, raising concerns about the potential for the event to spread the novel coronavirus. The campaign plans to conduct temperature checks and distribute masks and hand sanitizer to attendees.

The Trump campaign’s announcement of the rally coincided with nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man. Trump’s handling of and rhetoric on the demonstrations has also come under sustained scrutiny in recent weeks.

Trump, who signed an executive order Tuesday to incentivize police reform, acknowledged in the Journal interview that there is “some” systemic racism in the United States but asserted that the country had made substantial progress in rooting out racism from its institutions.

“I’d like to think there is not” systemic racism, Trump told the Journal. “But unfortunately, there probably is some. I would also say it’s very substantially less than it used to be.”

[The Hill]

Trump says he will “not even consider” renaming bases named for Confederate leaders

President Trump tweeted Wednesday that he will “not even consider” renaming the 10 U.S. military bases that are named after Confederate leaders.

Why it matters: A spokesperson for Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said on Monday he’s open to a “bipartisan discussion” about renaming the military bases and facilities that are named after Confederate leaders, including Fort Bragg and Fort Benning.

  • The debate comes as the Navy and Marines have moved to ban the display of Confederate-era symbols.
  • A number of states and cities around the country have also taken steps to remove Confederate-era symbols amid racial unrest over the police killing of George Floyd.

What he’s saying: “It has been suggested that we should rename as many as 10 of our Legendary Military Bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Benning in Georgia, etc. These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom,” Trump tweeted.

  • “The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.
  • “Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!”

The bottom line: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a press briefing Wednesday that Trump would not sign any potential legislation — including the National Defense Authorization Act — that includes language to change the names of U.S. forts.

[Axios]

Trump retweeted an attack on George Floyd’s character by Glenn Beck and Candace Owens

President Donald Trump retweeted a message in which conservative provocateur Candace Owens attacked the character of George Floyd, whose death in police custody has spurred widespread anti-racism protests. 

In the message shared by the president, conservative radio host Glenn Beck interviews Owens about Floyd’s death, alongside the message: “I don’t care WHAT George Floyd did. The officer should have never treated him like that and killed him! But we still must ask: Is he a HERO? BLEXIT founder @RealCandaceO gave her thoughts: ‘The fact that he has been held up as a martyr sickens me.'”

“This is a guy with a very long record and a very long criminal record,” Beck said.

Owens describes Floyd as a symbol of the “broken culture in black America today” and asserted that “he was not a good person.” 

Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, after a police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes. 

Friends, family, former teachers, and colleagues praised him after his death as a “gentle giant,” who moved to Minneapolis to turn his life around after a stint in prison. 

“Knowing my brother is to love my brother,” Philonise Floyd, George’s brother, told CNN.“He’s a gentle giant. He don’t hurt anybody.”

Christopher Harris, a close friend of Floyd, told The Guardian, “he was looking to start over fresh, a new beginning,” Harris said. “He was happy with the change he was making.”

Video of the footage, in which Floyd can be heard saying “I can’t breathe,” has spread across the internet, spurring the most widespread popular protests in the US for a generation. 

Trump is facing mounting opposition for his response to the unrest. Instead of seeking to unify the country, say critics, the president has sought to portray the protests as instigated by left-wing extremists, and has demanded that authorities “dominate” the protests. 

The president has condemned the police actions that led to Floyd’s death in remarks Friday, saying,”Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement regardless of race, color, gender or creed.

But the president was also accused of disrespecting Floyd’s memory when he claimed that Floyd was “looking down” and rejoicing in “this great day” over better than expected employment figures.

Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, described Trump’s remark as “despicable. 

“George Floyd’s last words, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe’ echoed all across this nation and quite frankly around the world,” said Biden.

“For the president to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd, I frankly think is despicable.”

[Business Insider]

Donald Trump Rips Drew Brees For Kind Of Apologizing

Right-wing culture warriors have pounced on Drew Brees’ apology for a half-decade of misconstruing Colin Kaepernick’s protests of police killings. On Thursday, Ted Cruz complained that the NFL had gotten too liberal and had banned the pledge of allegiance. On Friday, the president played the hits that started in 2017 when he called Kaepernick a “son of a bitch.”

“I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag,” Donald Trump tweeted. “OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high…We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!”

With police brutality dominating the headlines again after Minneapolis PD killed George Floyd, Brees was asked in an interview how he’d react if more NFL players started kneeling again. “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America,” the New Orleans quarterback said.

At this point, it seems fair to say that no one cares that Kaepernick’s protests had nothing to do with the flag, and were very specifically about the police. Trump and his ilk have opportunistically attacked a black person who was using a massive platform to criticize the police. Now, they claim that even changing your mind is beyond the pale.

[New York Daily News]

Trump says he hopes George Floyd ‘is looking down’ and celebrating jobs report

President Trump on Friday strode to a lectern in the White House Rose Garden to tout an unexpectedly good jobs report that showed the U.S. unemployment rate falling in May to 13.3 percent, as 2.7 million people who had been furloughed due to the coronavirus crisis returned to work. 

During a 45-minute, stream-of-consciousness, often rambling speech, Trump all but declared victory in his administration’s response to both the pandemic and protests over the death of George Floyd, calling the jobs report a “tremendous tribute to equality.”

The president said he hoped Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by police in Minneapolis last week, would be looking down from heaven and approve of the job he is doing on the economy.

“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying, ‘This is a great thing that’s happening for our country,’” Trump said. “This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody.”

But according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday morning, the unemployment rate for black Americans actually increased slightly, from 16.7 percent to 16.8 percent. Unemployment for Asian-Americans jumped from 14.5 percent to 15 percent. Overall, the number of permanent job losers — those who have not been on temporary layoffs — continued to rise, increasing by 295,000 in May to 2.3 million.

Pressed by a reporter about how the jobs report could be considered a “victory” for black Americans or Asian-Americans, or what his plan is to address systemic racism among U.S. police, the president again pointed to the reduction in unemployment.

“What’s happening in our country, and what’s been happening, is the greatest thing for race relations, for the African-American community, for the Asian-American, for the Hispanic-American community, for women, for everything,” Trump said. “Because our country is so strong, and that’s what my plan is.”

He talked at length about how surprising the job numbers were to economists and to business-show anchors. Although Friday’s figures were unexpected, there were no suggestions they were inaccurate.

Earlier in his remarks, Trump made a passing reference to the nationwide protests against police violence triggered by Floyd’s death, claiming his call to use the National Guard to quell the unrest in places like Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis had worked.

“We want to get all of this finished,” the president said.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, called Trump’s invocation of Floyd’s name in his speech on the economy “despicable.”

Trump’s comments came a day after the first public memorial for Floyd was held in Minneapolis, where the Rev. Al Sharpton mocked the president’s widely-criticized church photo op.

“We cannot use Bibles as a prop,” Sharpton added. “And for those that have an agenda that are not about justice, this family will not let you use George as a prop.”

[Yahoo]

Media

Trump Snaps At PBS’ Yamiche Alcindor, Shushes Her for Asking About Rising Black and Asian Unemployment Rates

When PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked President Donald Trump how the fact that both black and Asian American unemployment rates increased this month could be taken as a victory, he responded with a dismissive hand gesture, before adding, “you are something.”

“Mr. President, why don’t you have a plan for systemic racism? Why have you not laid out a plan for systemic racism?” Alcindor asked before Trump put his finger to his mouth, attempting to shush her.

The president noted that the signing of his bill would be the greatest thing to happen for all demographics in America, adding that his plan would be to have the strongest economy in the world, adding that they’re almost at that point.

Another reporter echoed Alcindor, asking how a better economy could have helped George Floyd, who was killed at the hands of police last week.

“Black unemployment went up by .1 percent, Asian American unemployment went up by .5 percent,” Alcindor pointed out. “How is that a victory?”

“You are something,” Trump replied before Alcindor repeated her question. “I have to say though it’s been a great achievement, I feel so good about it. This is just the beginning. The best is yet to come.”

[Mediaite]

Trump promotes shooting black Americans in the street

Twitter says President Donald Trump and the White House’s official Twitter (TWTR) account have violated its rule against glorifying violence and has affixed a warning label to tweets on both, marking the first time such action has been taken against the accounts.The social media platform is using what it calls a “public interest notice” to flag the incendiary post about the protests and violence in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

This means the tweets will not be removed, but will be hidden behind a notice that says “this Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.” Users can view it if they click past the notice.The company’s move risked escalating tensions with the White House during an already tense week. Trump signed an executive order that purported to address “censorship” by Twitter and other social media companies, following Twitter’s earlier decision to affix fact-check type labels to two of his misleading posts about mail-in voting ballots.

Hours after Twitter flagged the tweet from Trump, the official White House account posted the same message. Twitter then took the same action with that message.

“As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited,” Twitter said in a tweet explaining its earlier decision to place a warning label on Trump’s tweet. “People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it.”

A spokesperson for Twitter said the decision was made by teams within the company and CEO Jack Dorsey was informed of the plan before Trump’s tweet was labeled.Trump continued his criticisms of Twitter on Friday after it labeled his post, tweeting that “it well be regulated.”

The president posted an identical message to Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram. CNN has reached out to Facebook for comment.

The post in question was about a third night of protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man who was filmed on video saying that he could not breathe as a white police officer used his knee to pin Floyd down.

As cable news networks carried images of fires and destructive protests in Minneapolis, the president tweeted at 12:53 a.m. ET: “these THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”

His phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” mirrors language used by a Miami police chief in the late 1960s in the wake of riots. Its use was immediately condemned by a wide array of individuals, from historians to members of rival political campaigns.

Some users reported the tweet to Twitter as a rule violation.

Less than two-and-a-half hours later, Twitter took action. “This Tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today,” the company said.

“We’ve taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance.”

Twitter (TWTR) has said in the past that it makes exceptions to its rules when heads of state are involved, due to the inherently newsworthy nature of their posts.

Facebook came under scrutiny last year for saying it would not fact-check politicians’ posts.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and cofounder, defended the company’s position in a speech last year in Washington, but noted there may be some exceptions. “Even for politicians we don’t allow content that incites violence or risks imminent harm — and of course we don’t allow voter suppression,” he said.

[CNN]

Trump is refusing to unveil Obama’s portrait at the White House, breaking a 40-year tradition

President Donald Trump won’t be unveiling former President Barack Obama’s portrait at the White House, breaking a 40-year tradition, NBC News reported on Tuesday.

Obama would also not be interested in attending such an event, according to the report, which cited people familiar with the matter.

The White House and a representative for Obama did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.

For decades, first-term presidents have held ceremonies in the East Room to unveil the portraits of their immediate predecessors. Obama did so for former President George W. Bush in 2012, for example.

“George, you went out of your way to make sure that the transition to a new administration was as seamless as possible,” Obama said at the time.

Trump and Obama have perhaps the most contentious relationship of any current and former presidents in modern US history. In recent days, Trump has made baseless allegations that Obama committed an unspecified crime. Before his transition from reality TV to politics, Trump spent years perpetuating a racist conspiracy theory regarding Obama’s place of birth.

Despite their rocky past, Obama wrote Trump an Inauguration Day letter in 2017 and left it in the desk drawer in the Oval Office; Trump said it was “beautiful.”

But that detente did not last long. Trump has frequently blamed Obama for various issues he’s faced as president, including for issues with COVID-19 testing.

Obama has generally avoided the limelight since leaving the White House. In the rare instances he’s criticized Trump, the former president has often done so without saying his successor’s name. Over the weekend, Obama appeared to excoriate Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic but did not explicitly mention him.

“More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” Obama said during a virtual commencement address for 2020 graduates of historically black colleges and universities. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”

Though Obama did not mention Trump, the former president’s comments were widely interpreted as a direct jab at his successor.

[Business Insider]

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