Lindsey Graham Breaks With Trump On NASCAR Tweet, Says Confederate Flag Isn't a Good Way to Grow a Business

South Carolina GOP Senator Lindsey Graham said NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace has nothing to apologize for and he rebuked President Donald Trump's Monday remarks defending the Confederate flag.

Graham rebuked Trump's Monday tweet criticizing NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag last month, which the president blamed on Wallace. The move occurred amid an investigation into whether a noose was placed in the garage of Wallace, who had put "Black Lives Matter" signage on his car shortly before. But this week, the FBI determined Wallace was not the target of a hate crime, prompting Trump to demand apology.

Graham, a staunch supporter of the president, pushed back against Trump's remarks during a Fox News Radio interview Monday.

lindsey graham donald trump confederate
South Carolina GOP Senator Lindsey Graham said NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace has nothing to apologize for and he rebuked President Donald Trump's Monday remarks defending the Confederate flag. SAUL LOEB/ Contributor/Getty Images

"[NASCAR] is trying to grow the sport," Graham said, referring to the auto racing league's ban on Confederate flags in June. "And I've lived in South Carolina all my life and if you're in business, the Confederate flag is not a good way to grow your business."

Graham said Trump—or any American—should be looking to celebrate NASCAR drivers coming to the support of their fellow auto racer.

"The idea that Bubba Wallace, who is the only, I think, African American driver, that he was upset by somebody finding a noose in the garage made perfect sense to me," Graham told Fox radio host Brian Kilmeade. "I don't think Bubba Wallace has anything to apologize for ... You saw the best in NASCAR. When there was a chance that it was a threat against Bubba Wallace ... they all rallied to Bubba's side, so I would be looking to celebrate that kind of attitude more than being worried about it being a hoax."

"So what I would tell people from outside of South Carolina that NASCAR is trying to grow the sport and one way you grow the sport is you take images that divide us and ask that they not be brought into the venue. That makes sense to me," Graham continued.

The GOP senator, who is facing a stiff election year against Democratic candidate Jaime Harrison, responded to Trump's earlier tweet demanding an apology from Wallace and defending the Confederate flag.

"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!" the president tweeted.

Bloomberg News and multiple other outlets reported that Trump's claim about NASCAR's ratings having fallen since the Wallace incident and flag ban are outright false—in fact they have been boosted.

Newsweek reached out to Senator Lindsey Graham's Washington office for additional remarks but did not receive a response in time for publication.