In an interview, President Donald Trump said the decision of whether or not to fly the Confederate flag is a matter of “freedom of speech.”
“My stance is very simple: It’s freedom of speech,” he said in an interview. “You do what you do. It’s freedom of speech. NASCAR can do whatever they want, and they’ve chosen to go a certain way, other people choose to go a different route.”
The president also defended a Twitter post he made earlier this week in which he falsely accused NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace of a “hoax” after a noose was found in Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway.
“I was just talking about the fact that NASCAR chose to go a certain way and that’s going to be up to them. That is up to them,” Trump said.
Last month, an investigation by the FBI concluded that Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime, though photographs showed what was clearly a noose. The FBI’s determination led to criticism for Wallace, who was accused of orchestrating the incident. NASCAR defended Wallace, saying he “and the 43 team had nothing to do with this.” The controversy took place just after NASCAR announced it would ban the display of the Confederate flag at its events.
Wallace was never formally suspected of staging the incident.