President Donald Trump kicked off Monday by calling out NASCAR's Bubba Wallace and asking if he has apologized to the drivers and officials after the "hoax" involving a garage door rope pull. The president directly tagged Wallace in the tweet, which drew the driver's attention. Wallace ultimately responded with a long statement to upcoming generations in which he said, "love over hate."
"Your words and actions will always be held to a higher standard than others," Wallace wrote on Monday. "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. 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 everyday towards it!" Wallace continued. "All the haters are doing is elevating your voice and platform to much greater heights! 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."
Trump's tweet on Monday drew the attention of several high-profile figures, including Richard Petty Racing owner Andrew Murstein. He defended his driver while calling Trump's tweet "late, misinformed and factually incorrect." Murstein continued and said that he finds it hard to believe that Trump would send out the tweet and theorized that one of the staff members did it without the president's knowledge.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also faced questions about Trump, Wallace and the tweet later on Monday. She responded by referencing Jussie Smollett and saying that "rushing to judgment" without facts is not acceptable. During this press briefing, McEnany said that Trump simply wanted Wallace to acknowledge that he was not targeted. Although the NASCAR drive did so during an interview with CNN.
NASCAR ultimately released a statement that defended Wallace without specifically mentioning Trump or his tweet. Racing's governing body said that it is proud to have Wallace in the NASCAR family and commended his leadership. The organization also pledged to continue standing tall with the driver, as well as everyone else that makes the sport more welcoming and inclusive for all fans.