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Suspect arrested in South Park Hill fatal stabbing

Law enforcement arrested a man Tuesday in Colorado Springs who they believe is responsible for the fatal stabbing of a woman in the South Park Hill neighborhood.

Jose Maria Sandoval-Romero, 24, is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder in the Friday stabbing of 40-year-old Ariana Wolk in the 1500 block of Oneida Street, Denver police announced Thursday.

Few details about the case are available as the arrest affidavit remains sealed. The department declined to release a mugshot of Sandoval-Romero because the investigation is ongoing.

Wolk was one of eight people killed in homicides in Denver since the beginning of July. No arrests have been made in six of those cases.

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Foreign students in US ‘scared for the future’

The spread of coronavirus has led to major changes for higher education across the world, with many institutions embracing virtual tuition as a way to allow students to continue their learning.

But US immigration authorities have now said that international students whose courses move fully online this autumn could face having their visas revoked.

An advisory from US immigration authorities says that unless students switch to courses with face-to-face tuition they could be deported.

The decision has caused uncertainty and fear for the hundreds of thousands of international students who rely on student visas.

The BBC spoke to some of those affected.

‘There’s no clarity’

Tanisha Mittal, 22, is from Mumbai in India and studying for a masters in health management and policy at the University of Michigan.

“Like many other international students, I came back home to India right before the country went into lockdown. Everything has been online since then,” she says.

“I finally booked my ticket last week to go back to the US. I woke up to this rule the next day. I was so anxious. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go back.

“I’ve been really scared that now because of this confusing order I may be deported back from the airport. My university had said they’d go hybrid so I understood this may not affect me but I was not sure how I’d prove that to immigration officials. My flight is in 10 days, which makes the whole issue even more urgent for me.

“But there’s no clarity. There are so many categories of students and this order applies differently to each of them: students who are in the US, students who are in their home countries, new admits [admissions].

“Everyone is grappling with so many questions at this point. So basically, if your university is going online you need to go back to your country and if it is hybrid you need to go back to the US. The whole concept of personal choice has been removed and we’re literally being compelled to do something that we may not want to do.

“With Covid, it’s also unsafe because people from different countries would come back to campus. So, the risk has increased. What if cases surge and universities go fully online again? Will they ask us to go back? Will our visas be revoked? “

‘My scholarship may be rejected’

Molly Canham, 18, is from Devon in the UK and has been offered a sports scholarship to study at Louisiana State University.

“At the moment, I live my life on the day to day, not knowing when I will be able to start university or start competing for my cross country team. I have been signed to run for the school so potentially not being able to go there in August leaves me in fear that my scholarship may be rejected.

“Currently, I cannot gain access to a visa to get to the USA, as the embassy is closed and most international students are being rejected.”

“I’m worried that my only option will be to take any major/ course which has face-to-face time just so I can get there and maintain my sports scholarship.

“I am also in contact with other athletes who are on scholarship who either cannot get back into the USA to study or are at risk from being deported back to England due to online course load.

“It makes me very anxious for the future as I do not want to be treated poorly and unfairly when I get to America. A lot of students I know are scared for the future at the moment.”

‘We came here with dreams’

Qinyuhui Chen is a Chinese national majoring in psychology at Penn State University and is currently in the US.

“I was pretty shocked when the announcement came out. It’s just so sudden.

“Our school has a hybrid policy for the fall and will be moving into complete online mode after Thanksgiving,” she explains, but worries about the impact this change could have on her and other students in a similar position.

“Many of my friends thought that they could take online classes for the fall and have already returned home. For those who are still here, we’re constantly keeping our eyes on the price of plane tickets.

“I think it is just not practical for us to rush back and forth between our home country and the US. I really hope that the school will maybe give us a one credit hybrid class after thanksgiving so we could stay in the US.

“I would really hope that ICE [US Immigration and Customs Enforcement] reconsider the policy. It is affecting every single international student here in America. We paid huge amounts of money and came here with dreams. For those who cannot afford the plane tickets or whose home country has a closed border, they may face deportation.”

‘The US needs international students’

Dev Wadhwa, 19, is from Vadodara in India. He is majoring in computer sciences at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

“I had admission offers from Australia, Canada and Hong Kong but I chose the US because of the quality of education,” he says.

“After the order was announced, one of my friends messaged me and said: ‘You’re going to be kicked out from the US.’ I was shocked and frustrated. It felt like a bombshell dropping on top of you.

“For the first 24 hours it was really, really frustrating for everyone. No-one knew what it meant.”

Although he later found out that his programme would not be affected, he adds that the stress for students has been difficult.

“We are already in the middle of a crisis. This was not really needed right now. It’s just sad because some students don’t have the option to go back to their home countries or to come back to the US from their home countries because of travel restrictions. So all of this is even more anxiety-inducing for them.”

But Dev says he understands the decision.

“If you look at it from the point of view of the administration, if a university is completely online you don’t need to be in the US. It’s logical, I think. But then again, the US needs international students to work for them and to keep their universities going.

‘Panicked and anxious’

Nox Yang is a 20-year-old from China studying sociology and film at UCLA

Messages flooded into an online group for Chinese students at UCLA after the visa change was announced this week.

“Everyone was very panicked and anxious,” Nox Yang says.

Her university offers an on-site and remote hybrid curriculum, but as a student in sociology and film, Yang may face difficulty enrolling in on-site classes, as most of those currently offered for courses in science and maths.

“In the worst-case scenario, I will have to return to China, but it’s a lot of hassle,” Nox says, citing skyrocketed flight fares and quarantine requirements.

She adds that the time difference and China’s internet censorship may lead to more hurdles for remote learning.

‘It’s disappointing’

Iris Li, 20, is a junior student from China at Emory University in Atlanta but is currently in Beijing

Iris Li woke up to the news that she may not be able to renew her student visa, as she is taking only online classes from China.

The 20-year-old travelled back to her hometown Beijing, China in late March, only packing for a summer break. But her plan has been disrupted since the Covid-19 outbreak unfolded in the US, where she has lived for six years.

Iris’s visa appointment in early July was cancelled, as routine visa services in US embassies and consulates around the world remain suspended. Worse still, the ICE rule means she won’t be issued a new student visa if taking a fully online curriculum.

“It’s disappointing,” she says.

Reporting by Gareth Evans, Nikita Mandhani, Zhaoyin Feng and the UGC team.

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Senior China diplomat urges "positive energy" in ties with United States

BEIJING (Reuters) – Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Thursday that China and U.S. relations face the most serious challenges since diplomatic ties were established in 1979 but the two countries can return to the right track.

China and the United States should jointly explore ways for peaceful coexistence and release more “positive energy,” State Councilor Wang, who is also foreign minister, said in a speech posted on his ministry’s website.

Washington and Beijing have been at loggerheads over the handling of the coronavirus outbreak, China’s actions in the former British colony of Hong Kong, a long-running trade dispute, and frictions over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

“Current U.S. policy towards China is based on strategic misjudgments which lack a factual basis, and is full of emotional outbursts and McCarthyist prejudice,” he said, referring to an anti-communist witch hunt inspired by a U.S. senator in the 1950s.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the world should not permit China’s “bullying” to take place, highlighting the country’s territorial disputes with India, Vietnam, and Japan.

The two countries should not seek to change each other, said Wang. “China cannot and will not become another America,” he said, adding that a socialist system was suited to China and the choice of its people.

Wang said he hoped the United States would build a more objective understanding of China and formulate a more rational and pragmatic China policy.

More dialogue, separating out different issues and setting to one side the areas of greatest disagreement, and cooperation in fighting against the coronavirus pandemic would help put bilateral relations on the right track, said Wang.

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Body of child found in Eagle River last week is identified

The body of a child found last week in the Eagle River has been identified as that of 3-year-old Sebastian Rodriguez Castro.

His cause of death is drowning and the manner has been ruled accidental by the Eagle County Coroner’s Office, according to a news release.

Sebastian went missing on June 5 and hundreds of volunteers and emergency personnel searched for the missing child.

“I thank the community for being patient as we followed this Office’s process for confirming the identity of a recovered body,” said County Coroner Kara Bettis in the release. “We hope this announcement brings closure to the family and a measure of healing to our caring community.”

Sebastian’s family expressed gratitude for the massive search efforts and they asked for privacy in their time of continued grief, according to the release.

His body was found on Friday between Eagle and Dotsero.


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College football in spring? CU Buffs coach Karl Dorrell says it’s been discussed

First-year Colorado football coach Karl Dorrell had considered nearly every scenario for how the season will be played when Buffs’ athletic director Rick George offered a new alternative.

College football in the spring?

It’s entirely possible.

“That first came across my radar last night,” Dorrell said. “(George) mentioned that from some of the discussion that they’ve had from an athletic director’s standpoint.”

Dorrell joined college football coaches from across the state — Steve Addazio (CSU), Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Ed McCaffrey (UNC) and John Wristen (CSU-Pueblo) — on Tuesday for a virtual roundtable discussion as part of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporations’ annual college football kickoff event. Among the most discussed topics on the Zoom video call were scenarios for potential schedule changes this season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

One idea appearing to gain national traction is to delay the start of college football for several months and play in the spring, allowing for safer game travel and campus environments compared to this fall. The Ivy League is expected to announce this week that it will postpone all of its upcoming fall sports to start in the spring, according to Forbes.

“What happens if we really don’t kick off until February?” Calhoun said. “We may reach a point where that is best, and quite frankly, where that is best educationally, too.”

Another radical scheduling idea is eliminating nonconference games to keep games more regional. And, for Power Five schools, to ensure opponents have the same financial resources to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

However, within Colorado, that plan doesn’t have universal support. Addazio stressed the importance of CSU hosting rival CU in the Rams’ on-campus stadium this season.

“Proposing this 10-game conference only deal, I don’t want to see any of that,” Addazio said. “Let’s go play them all.”

All five coaches stressed the importance of student-athlete health and welfare being the first concern and discussions on scheduling coming later. Schedules aren’t expected to be finalized until at least late July. For now, area coaches are optimistic that games will be played this fall.

“We can’t predict how things are going to go,” Dorrell said. “We’re hoping that the season starts on time. That’s what everybody is planning to do right now.”

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Five claims in Trump niece’s tell-all book

A tell-all memoir written by President Donald Trump’s niece claims that he is a “narcissist” who now threatens the life of every American.

Mary Trump’s book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, describes her uncle as a fraud and a bully.

The White House refutes claims made in the book, excerpts of which have been leaked to US media.

The Trump family has sued to block its 14 July publication.

‘More than narcissism’

Ms Trump, 55, writes that for her uncle, “nothing is ever enough” and that the US president exhibits all the characteristics of a narcissist.

“This is far beyond garden-variety narcissism,” his niece, who has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, writes of Mr Trump. “Donald is not simply weak, his ego is a fragile thing that must be bolstered every moment because he knows deep down that he is nothing of what he claims to be.”

She says the president was influenced by watching his father, Fred Trump Sr, bully her father Fred Trump Jr – who died from an alcohol related illness when she was 16 years old.

Ms Trump writes that Trump Sr was extremely harsh to his oldest son, whom he wanted to take over the family real estate business. But as Ms Trump’s father drifted away from the business, Trump Sr had no choice but to turn to his second son, Donald.

It was not a happy choice, Ms Trump appears to claim. “When things turned south in the late 1980s, Fred could no longer separate himself from his son’s brutal ineptitude; the father had no choice but to stay invested,” she writes of the senior Trump’s attitude towards the future 45th US President.

“His monster had been set free.”

The White House refuted the claim that Mr Trump’s father had been abrasive and harsh, saying that the president “describes the relationship he had with his father as warm and said his father was very good to him”.

‘I had to take Donald down’

In the book, Ms Trump describes how she supplied tax documents to the New York Times, which used them to publish a 14,000 word investigative article into Mr Trump’s “dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents”.

Ms Trump said she was approached by journalists at her home in 2017 and was initially reluctant to help.

She waited for a month, watching as “Donald shredded norms, endangered alliances, and trod upon the vulnerable,” before deciding to contact the Times reporter.

After smuggling 19 boxes of legal documents out of the law firm where they were kept, she handed them over to reporters. She describes hugging them and calls the moment “the happiest I’d felt in months”.

“It wasn’t enough for me to volunteer at an organisation helping Syrian refugees,” she writes. “I had to take Donald down.”

University ‘cheater’

Ms Trump claims that her uncle paid a friend to take the SAT test for him – a standardised exam which determines university placement – because he was “worried that his grade point average, which put him far from the top of his class, would scuttle his efforts to get accepted”.

He hired “a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker, to take his SATs for him,” she writes, adding: “Donald, who never lacked for funds, paid his buddy well.”

Mr Trump attended Fordham University in New York City, but later transferred to the Wharton School of business at the University of Pennsylvania.

The White House denied that the president cheated on the university entrance exam.

Donald ‘destroyed’ her father

Ms Trump blames the Trump family patriarch, Fred Trump Sr for much of the family’s alleged dysfunction. She says Trump Sr, a New York City real estate mogul, “destroyed” Donald Trump by interfering in his “ability to develop and experience the entire spectrum of human emotion”.

“By limiting Donald’s access to his own feelings and rendering many of them unacceptable, Fred perverted his son’s perception of the world and damaged his ability to live in it,” she writes.

“Softness was unthinkable,” for Trump Sr, she writes, adding that he would grow furious whenever her father – known as Freddy – apologised for any errors.

Fred Sr, she said “would mock him. Fred wanted his oldest son to be a ‘killer.'”

Donald Trump, who is seven years younger than his late brother, “had plenty of time to learn from watching Fred humiliate” his eldest son, Ms Trump writes.

“The lesson he learned, at its simplest, was that it was wrong to be like Freddy: Fred didn’t respect his oldest son, so neither would Donald.”

A problem with women

Ms Trump writes that her uncle had asked her to ghost write a book about him, called the Art of the Comeback, and provided “an aggrieved compendium of women he had expected to date but who, having refused him, were suddenly the worst, ugliest and fattest slobs he’d ever met”.

He later had someone else fire her and never paid her for her work, she alleges.

She says Mr Trump made suggestive comments about her body when she was 29 years old, even though she is his niece and Mr Trump was married to his second wife, Marla Maples.

She says Mr Trump told his current wife Melania that his niece had dropped out of university and took drugs around the time he hired her for the book project. It is true that Ms Trump had left college, but she says she never took any drugs, and that she believes her uncle made up the story to present himself as her “saviour”.

“The story was for his benefit as much as anybody else’s,” she writes, “and by the time the doorbell rang, he probably already believed his version of events.”

Who is Mary Trump?

Mary Trump, 55, is the daughter of Fred Trump Jr, the president’s older brother, who died in 1981 at the age of 42.

He struggled with alcoholism for much of his life and his premature death was caused by a heart attack linked to his drinking.

President Trump has cited his brother’s personal problems as spurring his administration’s push for tackling the opioid addiction epidemic.

In an interview last year with the Washington Post, Mr Trump said he regretted pressuring his older brother to join the family real estate business.

Mary Trump has largely avoided the limelight since her uncle became president, though she has been critical of him in the past.

After Mr Trump won the election in 2016, she described the experience as the “worst night of my life,” according to the Washington Post.

“We should be judged harshly,” she tweeted. “I grieve for our country.”

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Tourists on staycations in Cornwall told to 'turn around and f**k off'

Tourists descending on Cornwall were told to ‘turn around and f*** off’ by some angry locals.

While in Devon, one man dressed up as the Grim Reaper and greeted outsiders with a ‘Welcome Holidaymakers’ sign.

Thousands of Brits took advantage of the relaxed lockdown over the weekend by flocking to the region’s beauty spots.

But the influx of people from outside Cornwall and Devon sparked fears among some that they could be bringing the virus with them.

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Three people displayed their anger for all to see on the A30 in Bodmin, one of the main routes into Cornwall.

A picture circulating on social media shows the group holding a crude banner aloft on a bridge over the dual carriageway, telling drivers to ‘turn around and f*** off’.

Cornwall’s tourism chief Malcolm Bell said the offensive sign was ‘unforgivable’.

He told Cornwall Live: ‘We are battling to save thousands of jobs. Let’s welcome our customers, who will share their money to keep Cornish people in jobs.

‘I don’t like to see signs like the one we saw on the A30. It is being offensive to a large group of people. I find it unforgivable.’

In the coastal town of Dawlish in Devon, tourists were greeted by the Grim Reaper and his tinfoil scythe.

The stunt didn’t go down well with everyone as two other locals soon challenged him and confiscated his ‘Welcome Holidaymakers’ sign.

The incidents were not reflective of the general mood in the region, which will rely heavily on tourism to kickstart the local economy.

But there is undeniably an element of nerves to the welcome from locals and businesses.

Nikki Mulliner, manager of the Shipwrights pub in Plaidstow, told The Times: ‘I was a little apprehensive but it’s been lovely to have so many people stop and think about what they are doing because you don’t expect that in a pub.

‘People have been enjoying sitting at a table and having their drinks brought to them.’ 

A chef at Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant said locals want things to return to normal but are concerned about a spike in cases.

The chef, who did not want to be named, said: ‘The attitude of people coming down is very relaxed. They are not wearing masks and just wander around a bit as if there isn’t a care in the world.

‘We all want the trade to start up again but nobody seems to be distancing.’

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Greek PM rides high in opinion polls after one year in office

More than 67 percent of people judged Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s premiership positively in advance of his work anniversary.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has completed a year in office riding high in opinion polls, his reputation further enhanced by his government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 67 percent of people judged Mitsotakis’s premiership positively in the run-up to Tuesday’s anniversary in a Marc poll published by Proto Thema weekly on Sunday.

And recent polls have consistently shown the PM’s New Democracy party leading the main opposition left-wing Syriza party by more than 15 percent.

“Rarely has so much been achieved in such a short space of time,” Mitsotakis told his cabinet on June 30.

“I think the great majority of Greek society would agree,” he said.

The government also scored points in March by blocking a migration surge, and fulfilling tax cut promises also proved popular. But the government is still in its honeymoon phase with the public, said Nikos Marantzidis, a professor of Balkan studies at the University of Macedonia.

“It’s still early,” he told the AFP news agency. “If the recession is close to 10 percent and there is a second [pandemic] wave with serious economic effects, things will start going sour for the government.”

‘Barely out’

Manolis Alexakis, a political scientist at Crete University, agreed that Greece’s fragile economy “which is barely out of the bailout crisis, will not be able to withstand a second lockdown”.

He was referring to the enormous European Union and IMF financial aid packages to Greece after a run of reckless state spending, which came on condition of a programme of harsh austerity policies.

“If the government doesn’t have a plan for the recession that will make landfall in the autumn, and the social unrest that will accompany it, it will deserve its fate,” he said. “Early elections will be the only available option.”

The Bank of Greece forecasts the economy will contract by 5.8 percent of output in 2020.

But it also notes an “adverse scenario” with a possible second wave of COVID-19 could see a contraction of up to 9.4 percent.

Mitsotakis has earmarked 24 billion euros ($27bn) in national and EU funds to support the economy this year due to the shutdown.

But the left-wing opposition led by former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says the measures are excessively business-oriented, failing to give enough support to struggling workers.

There was uproar last month when the child of a hotel staffer left jobless by the COVID-19 lockdown fainted from hunger.

“I’m afraid that … unless Mr Mitsotakis exits his virtual reality bubble, in the autumn in major islands … we’ll be talking about how to organise soup kitchens,” Tsipras said last week.

Tourism accounts for a quarter of the economy directly and indirectly. After enforcing an early lockdown in March, Mitsotakis began to reopen businesses in May.

Some fear that the country’s successful handling of the pandemic so far, with fewer than 200 lives lost, will be jeopardised by tourist arrivals from harder-hit countries.

But Marantzidis insists “the Greek economy could not afford to stay shut during the summer”.

Migration policy

Mitsotakis’s government has also faced criticism from rights groups over its tough policy on migration.

Greece has struggled to house and integrate about 120,000 asylum seekers stranded in the country after other European states shut their borders in 2016.

With relocation initiatives to other EU states proceeding at a snail’s pace, the government has tried to discourage new migrant arrivals by beefing up border patrols, toughening asylum requirements and scaling back refugee benefits.

Last week, Oxfam and the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) warned that Greece’s new asylum rules were “designed to deport people rather than offer them safety and protection”.

“People who have fled violence and persecution have little chance of a fair asylum procedure, and even families with children are regularly detained in inhumane conditions,” the organisations said.

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No excess deaths in England and Wales for second week in a row

England and Wales have registered no excess deaths for the second week running, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.

Overall, the number of weekly registered deaths fell below the five-year average in the week ending June 26, while the amount of deaths involving Covid-19 has fallen for the tenth consecutive week.

There were also 360 fewer deaths recorded in the two nations than the week before.

The numbers of deaths in care homes and hospitals was also lower than the five-year average, 103 and 815 deaths fewer respectively.

But the number of deaths in private homes was 745 higher than the five-year average.

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Of the deaths registered in the week ending June 26, 606 mentioned Covid-19, which is the lowest number of deaths involving coronavirus in the last 13 weeks, accounting for 6.7% of all deaths in England and Wales.

This is a breaking news story, more to follow.

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Nascar driver in defiant tweet over Trump’s ‘hate’

African-American Nascar driver Bubba Wallace has sent out a tweet condemning words of “hate from the president of the United States”.

Wallace is the sole full-time black driver in the US racing organisation and was instrumental in it banning the Confederate flag from races.

A noose was later found in his garage but an FBI inquiry determined “no federal crime was committed”.

President Trump called the story a hoax and suggested Wallace should apologise.

Wallace has been a vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has come to the fore since the death in police custody of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

The movement has sparked a campaign to remove symbols associated with slavery, imperialism and the Confederacy. President Trump has strongly defended the monuments as part of US history.

The noose is a particularly evocative symbol of hate connected to lynching.

One was found in the garage assigned to Wallace at the Geico 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

Wallace, 26, received messages of solidarity from fellow Nascar drivers and sports stars around the world after the discovery and an inquiry was begun.

The FBI investigation found that the noose was in that garage as early as October 2019 and “nobody could have known Mr Wallace would be assigned the garage… last week”.

Wallace rejected suggestions the noose was a door handle, saying “what was hanging in my garage is not a garage pull”.

But President Trump on Monday tweeted: “Has Bubba Wallace 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.”

He did not elaborate on his allegation.

He said the noose incident and the removal of the flag had caused Nascar’s “lowest ratings ever”.

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!

End of Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump

Later, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said the president was making “a broader point that this rush to judgment on the facts before the facts are out is not acceptable”.

In his tweet, which he said was being sent to “the next generation and little ones following my foot steps”, Wallace wrote: “You will always have people testing you. Seeing if they can knock you off your pedestal. I encourage you to keep your head high and walk proudly on the path you have chosen.”

He added: “Always deal with the hate being thrown at you with LOVE!… Love should come naturally as people are TAUGHT to hate. Even when it’s HATE from the POTUS.”

To the next generation and little ones following my foot steps..#LoveWins

End of Twitter post by @BubbaWallace

In a statement, Nascar said: “We are proud to have Bubba Wallace in the Nascar family and we commend his courage and leadership. Nascar continues to stand tall with Bubba, our competitors and everyone who makes our sport welcoming and inclusive for all racing fans.”

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