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 Vows to Veto Defense Bill Over Amendment to Rename Military Bases Named After Confederates

President Donald Trump vowed to veto a $740 billion defense spending bill unless Congress drops a proposed amendment to rename U.S. military bases named after Confederate leaders.

As the country faces ongoing social unrest over the death of George Floyd, the public debate continues on whether Confederate figures deserve to be publicly honored with statues or major instillations bearing their names. Amid these calls for racial justice, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has proposed an amendment for the Defense Authorization Bill that would require the names of Confederate leaders to be completely scrubbed from several military bases over the next 3 years.

Trump has repeatedly defended monuments honoring Confederates in recent weeks, and on Tuesday night, he used his racially-charged insult for Warren again while promising to veto the bill if her amendment gets through.

[Mediaite]

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 Tweets, Thanks Florida Supporter Chanting ‘White Power’

Donald Trump tweeted a video of someone in a golf cart shouting the racist slogan, “White Power” and others yelling, “Fuck Trump” on Sunday morning. The video was originally posted by the Twitter handle Fifty Shades of Whey, which noted that the seniors of The Villages in Florida were “protesting against each other.” Trump was seemingly unaware that those protesting against him, who were holding up signs that accused him of racism, were apparently also residents of The Villages. Nevertheless, the president thanked area denizens in his post, writing, “Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!!”

[The Daily Beast]

Update

Trump deleted the tweet and claimed he wasn’t aware. This is problematic for two reasons. First, the “white power” chant occurs in the first few seconds of the video. Second, why is a President sharing content without vetting it?

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]

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

‘Don’t ask me. Ask China’: Trump clashes with reporters then abruptly leaves press briefing

Donald Trump abruptly halted a press conference on Monday after being challenged by an Asian American reporter whom he told: “Don’t ask me. Ask China.”

With the stars and stripes at his back, Trump held his first press briefing since 27 April in the White House rose garden, flanked by testing equipment and swabs and signs that proclaimed: “America leads the world in testing.”

But during a question and answer session, Weijia Jiang, White House correspondent of CBS News, asked why the president constantly emphasises that the US is doing better than any other country when it comes to testing.

“Why does that matter?” she queried. “Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives and we are still seeing more cases every day?”

Trump retorted: “Well, they are losing their lives everywhere in the world. Maybe that is a question you should ask China. Don’t ask me. Ask China that question. When you ask China that question you may get a very unusual answer.”

The president then called on another reporter, Kaitlan Collins of CNN, but she paused as Jiang interjected: “Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically?”

The president replied: “I am not saying it specifically to anybody. I am saying it to anybody who would ask a nasty question like that.”

The CBS correspondent pointed out: “That is not a nasty question.”

Collins, at the microphone, then tried to ask her question, but Trump said he was now looking to someone at the back. As Collins repeatedly objected, the president turned on his heel and left the podium.

Trump has frequently been criticised for adopting a particularly harsh or patronising tone at press conferences to women in general and women of colour in particular. Jiang was born in China but immigrated to America at the age of two.

Tara Setmayer, a political commentator, tweeted: “Another disgraceful, racist, temper tantrum by Trump b/c he was asked a pointed question by @weijia… Trump can’t handle smart, assertive women.”

Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California tweeted: “Dear @realDonaldTrump: Asian Americans are Americans. Some of us served on active duty in the U.S. military. Some are on the frontlines fighting this pandemic as paramedics and health care workers. Some are reporters like @weijia. Stop dividing our nation.”

Earlier at the briefing, Trump claimed that the US’s testing capacity is “unmatched and unrivalled anywhere in the world, and it’s not even close”. More than 9m tests have now been performed, he said, and where three weeks ago roughly 150,000 per day were done, the total is now 300,000 per day and will go up.

Trump said this week the US will pass 10m tests, nearly double the number of any country and more per capita than South Korea, the UK, France, Japan, Sweden, Finland and many others. But critics point out that South Korea implemented its testing much quicker, flattening the curve of cases so fewer tests were required.

The president announced his administration is sending $11bn to states, territories and tribes to boost testing. He described it as an effort to “back up” states but did not unveil the national testing strategy that many experts have called for.

Trump also claimed without basis that “if somebody wants to be tested right now, they’ll be able to be tested”, echoing a spurious claim he made way back on 6 March.

“In every generation, through every challenge and hardship and danger, America has risen to the task,” he said. “We have met the moment and we have prevailed.”

Trump, who has been encouraging states to reopen, promised: “We will defeat this horrible enemy, we will revive our economy and we will transition into greatness. That’s a phrase you’re gonna hear a lot.”

Democrats expressed scepticism. Daniel Wessel, Democratic National Committee deputy war room director, said: “Trump says we ‘prevailed’ on testing, but his response has been a complete failure and made this crisis worse than it needed to be.

“Trump still hasn’t helped states reach the testing capacity they need, every American who wants a test can’t get a test, and he is only now taking steps that should’ve happened weeks ago. While Trump wants to declare mission accomplished, the American people are still suffering and will not forget how he gave up on them.”

The campaign group Protect Our Care noted that it was 13 days since Trump said the US will run 5m daily tests “very soon” Zac Petkanas, director of its coronavirus war room, recalled that Donald Trump promised that anyone who wants a test could get a test and that the US would soon be testing 5m Americans per day.

“This wasn’t true when he said it and it’s not true today. What is true is that more than 80,000 Americans have lost their lives in large part because Donald Trump still hasn’t taken testing seriously. The only thing that the president has prevailed at is making America first in reported deaths and infections.”

The White House itself is not immune from coronavirus. Katie Miller, the press secretary for vice-president Mike Pence, and a personal valet who works for Trump both tested positive last week. Those entering the West Wing are now required to wear a mask or face covering, after a new memo was issued on Monday. Trump and Pence are being tested every day. Trump, however, is exempt from wearing a mask in the White House. It’s not clear if Pence will wear one or not.

The president said it is “shocking” how many people come in and out of the White House every day. “I’ve felt no vulnerability whatsoever,” he said.

During the press conference, Trump’s presidential election opponent, Joe Biden, tweeted: “Donald Trump and his team seem to understand how critical testing is to their own safety. So why are they insisting that it’s unnecessary for the American people?”

[The Guardian]

Donald Trump falsely claims Nancy Pelosi deleted video telling people to go to Chinatown

President Donald Trump joined conservative supporters in accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of covering up her visit to San Francisco’s Chinatown in late February.

“Crazy Nancy Pelosi deleted this from her Twitter account. She wanted everyone to pack into Chinatown long after I closed the BORDER TO CHINA. Based on her statement, she is responsible for many deaths. She’s an incompetent, third-rate politician!” Trump tweeted April 16.

But there’s no evidence Pelosi ever tweeted that video of herself in Chinatown. So she could not have deleted it, as Trump said.

The video Trump tweeted is 17 seconds long, a snippet of a Feb. 24 report by KPIX, a San Francisco Bay Area CBS affiliate. Pelosi in the KPIX report is shown walking through San Francisco’s Chinatown District and encouraging people to visit its shops and restaurants, which were seeing a decline in business since the coronavirus outbreak began in China.

At the time, KPIX reported, there were no active cases of coronavirus in San Francisco. There were 21 active cases in California, but they were in hospital isolation or in quarantine.

Pelosi says in the video: “You should come to Chinatown. Precautions have been taken by our city. We know that there is concern about tourism, traveling throughout the world, but we think it’s very safe to be in Chinatown and hope that others will come.”

We wondered if Trump was right that Pelosi deleted that video from her Twitter account. PolitiFact’s fact-checking process includes asking a person who makes a claim for the evidence that supports their statement. So we asked the White House press office and Trump’s re-election campaign for the date of the original post, which account posted it, and when it was deleted. We did not get any information.

Pelosi’s office told PolitiFact that they never posted the video that Trump claimed was deleted.

We did our own digging and found no trace of the video posted from her account.

Politwoops, a project of ProPublica, tracks deleted tweets by elected officials. According to that tracker, @SpeakerPelosi’s latest five deleted tweets span from Feb. 22 to April 13. Not one is about going to Chinatown.

We also reviewed what Pelosi’s Twitter page looked liked since Feb. 24, based on the history saved by Wayback Machine, an initiative of the Internet Archive. The archived pages of Pelosi’s Twitter account do not show the video Trump tweeted. (Wayback Machine did not have archives of the page as they looked on Feb. 24-26, but any deletion of that video would presumably be more recent.)

Trump suggests that Pelosi is hiding her actions from Feb. 24. But a transcript of her comments that were captured in Trump’s video appear on both her House Speaker website and congressional website. As of April 16, the Chinatown visit was one of the featured photos in the homepage of her congressional website.

Pelosi’s Twitter page currently has a video of her Feb. 24 visit to Chinatown. It shows her making a fortune cookie. Text accompanying the video says: “It was a pleasure to try my hand at making fortune cookies at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory (with a little guidance from owner Kevin Chan, of course). The message inside? ‘United We Stand.’”

On Feb. 25, she posted a series of tweets saying Americans needed a coordinated response to the coronavirus and that the House would advance a funding package “that fully addresses the scale and seriousness of this public health crisis.”

It’s worth noting that throughout January and most of February, U.S. officials said that the coronavirus risk to the American public was low and that they were not seeing community spread of the virus. By Feb. 25, there were 53 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States and no deaths, according to data compiled by the World Health Organization.

On Feb. 28, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doctor said it was possible that a reported case in California “could be the first instance of community spread — meaning the illness was acquired through an unknown exposure in the community.” But it could also be that the patient was exposed through contact to a traveler who was infected, said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. The immediate risk to the general American public remained low, she said.

The cancelling of mass gatherings was not yet common in the United States in February, the CDC noted in an April report.

Trump’s messaging around this time also did not suggest that people avoid large crowds. The same day of Pelosi’s trip to Chinatown, Trump tweeted: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”Our ruling

Trump tweeted that Pelosi deleted a video of her telling people to go to Chinatown.

Pelosi on Feb. 24 did encourage people to go to Chinatown in San Francisco. But we found no trace of her posting or deleting the video Trump shared.

At the time of Pelosi’s remark, U.S. health officials said the risk of the coronavirus was low to the American public since they had no reports of community spread. Trump during this time also said the virus was under control in the United States.

Neither the White House nor Trump’s re-election campaign provide evidence to support Trump’s claim. In the absence of evidence, we rate this claim False.

[Politifact]

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