Trump on NASCAR Confederate Flag Controversy: ‘It’s About Freedom of Speech’

NASCAR Confederate (Todd Warshaw / Getty)
Todd Warshaw / Getty

President Donald Trump told a reporter Tuesday that the controversy over NASCAR’s recent ban on the display of the Confederate flag at races is not about the symbol itself, but about “freedom of speech.”

On Monday, Trump tweeted about several attacks on historical symbols — such as the removal of a statue of abolitionist Frederick Douglass in Rochester, New York; and NASCAR’s ban on the Confederate flag.

Journalists largely ignored the Frederick Douglass tweet, and seized on the Confederate flag tweet — though Trump had not defended the flag itself in observing that the controversy had cost NASCAR in television ratings.

Trump was interviewed at the White House by Nexstar TV’s Jesse Turnure, who asked him about the controversy.

“I was just talking about the fact that NASCAR chose to go a certain way,” the president said, “and that’s going to be up to them. … But I view it as freedom of speech.”

Trump has also vowed to veto a defense spending bill that calls for the renaming of U.S. Army bases named for Confederate generals.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) pointed out to Breitbart News Daily on Tuesday that the bill also requires the removal of monuments that are currently in U.S. military cemeteries and in other U.S. military buildings, including the academy at West Point.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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