- President Donald Trump defended people who support the Confederate flag and said they don't necessarily support it because of the Confederacy's deep-rooted ties to slavery.
- "Well, people love it, and I don't view — I know people that like the Confederate flag and they're not thinking about slavery," Trump told CBS News in an interview.
- Confederate leaders explicitly laid out in their constitution that the main goal of the Confederacy was to preserve slavery.
- The president also lashed out when he was asked why African-Americans are still dying in police custody.
- "So are white people," Trump said. "What a terrible question to ask. So are white people, more white people by the way, more white people."
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President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended people who support the Confederate flag and said they don't necessarily support it because of the Confederacy's deep-rooted ties to slavery.
"Well, people love it, and I don't view — I know people that like the Confederate flag and they're not thinking about slavery," Trump told CBS News in an interview.
(Confederate leaders explicitly laid out in their constitution that the main goal of the Confederacy was to preserve slavery.)
"I look at NASCAR — you go to NASCAR, and you had those flags all over the place," Trump said. "They stopped it." The president was referring to NASCAR's decision to ban confederate flags from all its events.
He also ramped up his criticism of Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's only Black full-time driver. Last month, a crewmember discovered a noose in Wallace's garage stall at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. The FBI and NASCAR opened investigations into the incident, and several NASCAR officials and drivers rallied to Wallace's defense in its aftermath.
The FBI eventually concluded that the noose had been in the stall since last October and that no hate crime had been committed. Trump on Tuesday called for Wallace to apologize for the incident, even though he was not the one who discovered or reported the noose.
"I just think it's freedom of speech, whether it's freedom of speech, whether it's Confederate flags or Black Lives Matter or anything else you want to talk about," Trump told CBS News. "It's freedom of speech."
The president has drawn criticism for defending confederate displays and monuments as an expression of First Amendment rights while ordering law enforcement to crack down on protesters demonstrating against racism and police brutality.
The debate over confederate monuments and police violence gained traction after the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, while Floyd said he couldn't breathe and begged for air.
Floyd's death sparked widespread anger and thousands of protests in more than 300 US cities. The president has repeatedly excoriated protesters as "thugs" and suggested many of the demonstrations were planned by the far-left group antifa to stoke violence and race riots.
Trump has not yet made a public statement condemning police brutality and racism in the wake of Floyd's death. He also called on law-enforcement officials and state governors to "dominate" protesters with "overwhelming force," even though the vast majority of demonstrations have been peaceful.
The president also threatened to send the military into Minneapolis to quell demonstrations and quoted a racist Miami police chief whose harsh policies led to riots in the 1960s. Twitter later flagged his tweet that contained the quote for glorifying violence.
On Tuesday, Trump was asked about continued police violence against unarmed Black men.
"You said George Floyd's death was a terrible thing," CBS News correspondent Catharine Herridge said. "Why are African-Americans still dying at the hands of law enforcement in this country?"
Trump responded: "So are white people. So are white people. What a terrible question to ask. So are white people, more white people by the way, more white people."
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