News & Politics

Liberals Outraged Over Trump's Juneteenth Rally in Tulsa Should Hear His Explanation for it

President Donald Trump speaks during an event at the Vehicle Assembly Building on Saturday, May 23, 2020, after viewing the SpaceX flight at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. A rocket ship designed and built by SpaceX lifted off on Saturday with two Americans on a history-making flight to the International Space Station. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Donald Trump was going to hold a rally to restart his campaign in Tulsa on June 19. But he and his campaign didn’t imagine the blowback from the black community because the date of the rally coincides with “Juneteenth” — a holiday that commemorates the date in 1865 that President Lincoln’s order to free American slaves reached Galveston, Texas.

So the Trump campaign will move the date of the rally back one day to June 20.

Prior to scheduling the rally, the president’s campaign aides had considered the political impact of holding a rally on Juneteenth and dismissed the ramifications. But the killing of George Floyd and resulting riots and unrest changed the political calculus, making a change necessary.

Trump tweeted out his reasons.

Fox News:

Earlier Friday, during an exclusive interview with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner on “Outnumbered Overtime,” Trump said the originally planned June 19 rally should have been viewed as a “celebration” of Juneteenth rather than a scheduling conflict.

“We’re going to Oklahoma,” Trump said during the interview in Dallas, “and if you think about it relative to your question, think about it as a celebration, don’t think about it as an inconvenience. Think about this as a celebration.”

“The fact that I’m having a rally on that day, you can really think about that very positively as a celebration because a rally to me is a celebration,” the president continued. “It’s going to be really a celebration and it’s an interesting date, it wasn’t done for that reason, but it’s an interesting date, but it’s a celebration.”

I don’t want to seem racially insensitive but I wonder how many Americans were even aware of Juneteenth as a holiday? The significance of the date is manufactured. Slavery ended with the proclamation of the 13th Amendment in December 1865. I suppose it’s a matter of perspective.

But the politics of the rally date dictated its move to June 20.

Some Democrats accused the president of deliberately selecting June 19 and Tulsa for his rally in order to antagonize African-Americans amid the George Floyd protests. But the president insisted Friday that that wasn’t the case.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany repeated that assertion to reporters in Washington.

“The African-American community is very near and dear to his heart,” McEnany said.

Trump was right to wonder why the rally couldn’t be seen as a “celebration” of Juneteenth.

“We’re going to Oklahoma,” Trump said during the interview in Dallas, “and if you think about it relative to your question, think about it as a celebration, don’t think about it as an inconvenience. Think about this as a celebration.”

“The fact that I’m having a rally on that day, you can really think about that very positively as a celebration because a rally to me is a celebration,” the president continued. “It’s going to be really a celebration and it’s an interesting date, it wasn’t done for that reason, but it’s an interesting date, but it’s a celebration.”

The reason black Americans don’t see the rally as a “celebration” is that it wasn’t planned with Juneteenth in mind. The campaign was aware of the date but dismissed its political impact.

When they scheduled the event, that was probably true. But once the cities erupted in flames, the politics changed.

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