CNN's Anderson Cooper said Monday that a tweet from President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE earlier in the day aimed at Bubba Wallace, the sole Black driver in NASCAR's top series, was "racist, just plain and simple."
In the tweet, the president accused Wallace of perpetrating a "hoax" over a noose found in his garage at Talladega Speedway last month and said Wallace should apologize. He added that NASCAR's decision to ban the Confederate flag from its properties contributed to the "lowest ratings EVER!"
Cooper on his program Monday evening accused the president of "pointing to the only Black guy in a room full of white guys" and "making up things he definitely didn't do" in order to help his sinking poll numbers.
Anderson Cooper doesn't mince words on Trump's Bubba Wallace tweet: "It was racist, pure and simple." pic.twitter.com/lQeC0zNGmM— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) July 7, 2020
Cooper also opened his program by accusing the president of trying to divert people's attention from the coronavirus crisis by "smearing a Black NASCAR driver, supporting the Confederate flag and statues of traitors, which he claims as part of our proud heritage."
“If divisive, inflammatory racist words could kill the coronavirus, then the President of the United States would be headed to Stockholm right now to pick up his Nobel prize in medicine.” - @AndersonCooper calls Trump’s remarks a “diversion” from the surge in coronavirus cases. pic.twitter.com/EF8WvzAVum— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) July 7, 2020
CNN and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
FBI investigators found that the noose discovered in Wallace's garage had been there for months and was not targeted at Wallace personally. But NASCAR released a photo of the noose, which was tied at the end of a garage door pull, and stressed “the noose was real." Officials said no other rope pulls at the track were tied in a similar fashion.
Wallace earlier Monday responded to Trump's tweet with a statement of his own released on Twitter, calling on fans to make love "come naturally" in the face of hate.
"Love should come naturally to as people are TAUGHT to hate. Even when it's hate from the POTUS.. Love wins," he said.