Bubba Wallace Responds to Trump's Demand He Apologize for Noose Incident: 'Love Over Hate'
NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace is responding to President Donald Trump's Monday Twitter attack with a message of love and perseverance.
The athlete tweeted his message hours after the president wrote that Wallace, 26, should "apologize" because a noose found in Wallace's Talladega Superspeedway garage last month was determined to be a garage door pull rope that had been in the location since at least October 2019.
"To the next generation and little ones following my foot steps," Wallace wrote, before continuing his tweet with a screenshotted message.
"Your words and actions will always be held to a higher standard than others," said Wallace. "You have to be prepared for that. You don't learn these things in school. You learn them from trials and tribulations, the ups and downs this crazy world provides. You will always have people testing you. Seeing if they can knock you off your pedestal."
He continued, "I encourage you to keep your head held high and walk proudly on the path you have chosen. Never let anybody tell you can't do something! God put us all here for a reason. Find that reason and be proud of it and work your tails off every day towards it! All the haters are doing is elevating your voice and platform too much greater heights!"
Said Wallace, "Last thing, always deal with the hate being thrown at you with LOVE! 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."
In his tweet, Trump, 74, insisted the incident was a "hoax."
"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 wrote on Twitter.
"That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!" the president added, referencing Wallace's successful campaign to encourage NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag from events.
In response to an inquiry for comment from PEOPLE, Richard Petty Motorsports, Wallace's racing team, said, "the June 25 statement released by NASCAR and the following press conference by NASCAR president Steve Phelps answered all questions regarding the situation at the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway."
"At this time, the team does not have anything to add," Richard Petty Motorsports added. "Wallace has extensively exhausted the topic via a multitude of interviews in recent weeks. It is clear there is nothing more to say."
Last month, NASCAR released an image of the noose found in Wallace's Alabama garage after the FBI determined that no federal hate crime had been committed in the incident.
According to NASCAR's statement, they asked tracks to sweep their garages from anything similar as part of their investigation. Out of 1,684 garage stalls at 29 tracks, 11 had pull-down ropes tied into a knot, and only the one at Talladega was tied into a noose.
"As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba," NASCAR President Steve Phelps said. "With similar emotion, others across our industry and our media stood up to defend the NASCAR family — our NASCAR family — because they are part of the NASCAR family too. We were proud to see so many stand up for what's right."
Phelps also said that Wallace and his team "had nothing to do" with the noose incident.
"Bubba has done nothing but represent this sport with courage, class, and dignity and he stood tall for what he believes in," he continued. "And we all need to stand with him. I know I’m going to.”