Anyone planning to travel to Tulsa for President Donald Trump’s campaign rally will have to wait a day. The event has been postponed from June 19 to June 20 because of a conflict with Juneteenth celebrations.
Juneteenth is a holiday commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation and end of slavery in Texas. The holiday is acknowledged by most states but is not widely celebrated.
Metro Voice has written about Juneteenth in the past.
Previous presidents have campaigned on Juneteenth, including President Obama who held a rally in Detroit on June 19, 2008. At the time, there was no criticism of the campaign for holding it on Juneteenth but, rather, because the campaign asked two women wearing muslim head scarves to move so they would not appear in photos or television images with Obama.
“We had previously scheduled our #MAGA Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for June 19th – a big deal,” Trump tweeted. “Unfortunately, however, this would fall on the Juneteenth Holiday. Many of my African American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out of respect for this holiday, and in observance of this important occasion and all that it represents.”
The Trump campaign’s original decision to hold the rally on Juneteenth was met with sharp criticism by Democrats, with Congresswoman Val Demings, a prospective vice presidential candidate for Trump’s opponent, Joe Biden, arguing that holding the rally on that date, “at the site of the worst racist violence in American history,” was a message to the black community that Trump represents more of the same.
VIDEO: What is Juneteenth?
“Tulsa was the site of the worst racist violence in American history,” she said. “The president’s speech there on Juneteenth is a message to every Black American: more of the same. As many as 300 people were killed, and a commission-issued report on the massacre eight decades later concluded that the most likely explanation for what happened between the man and the woman was that he stepped on her foot, and when she screamed, he ran away.”
But other African Americans said the rally would elevate Juneteenth which is not widely celebrated across the nation. Trump, who’s closest advisors include African-Americans, decided to move the rally so as not to conflict with celebrations in the city.
During an interview with Fox News, Trump told Harris Faulkner, who is African American, that it should be thought of as a celebration. When Faulkner interjected that it was scheduled for Emancipation Day, Trump signaled they were both on the same page: “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.”
Trump continues to have high poll numbers within the black community, and in fact, has seen his poll numbers soar with older blacks during the recent rioting which destroyed hundreds of black-owned businesses and saw several black police officers murdered by rioters. Trump’s approval rating among blacks was 40 percent at the beginning of June, according to CNN.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice