It’s not that Trump doesn’t want to tackle racism. It’s just that he’s focused on perceived racism against whites.
Signing up to try to reverse-engineer President Trump’s tweets into something resembling normal political discourse means having days like Monday. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked multiple times about Trump’s early-morning tweet criticizing a black NASCAR driver for his response to a controversy he didn’t originate and criticizing NASCAR itself for banning the Confederate flag. Or, in his words:
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? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!
In response, McEnany misrepresented the controversy and denied that Trump was criticizing NASCAR’s flag ban — though she also declined to state that the administration opposed the flag on the merits.
McEnany’s responses about that driver, Bubba Wallace, were the most illuminating, however.
You probably recall that a rope fashioned like a noose was found in the garage used by Wallace’s team shortly after the flag ban went into effect, prompting drivers to publicly show their support for him. An investigation later determined that the rope had been that way since at least October, well before Wallace’s team was assigned to the garage.
What Trump was objecting to, McEnany said, was the media making the discovery of the noose — a discovery made and reported by a members of Wallace’s team — into a broader story about race in America.
“The intent of the tweet,” McEnany said, “was to stand up for the men and women of NASCAR and the fans and those who have gone in this rush to judgment of the media to call something a hate crime, when, in fact, the FBI report concluded this was not an intentional racist act.”
She added: “It very much mirrors other times when there have been a rush to judgment, let’s say, with the Covington boys or with Jussie Smollett.”