Trump moves campaign rally scheduled for Juneteenth after facing backlash

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President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a roundtable discussion about “Transition to Greatness: Restoring, Rebuilding, and Renewing,” at Gateway Church Dallas, Thursday, June 11, 2020, in Dallas.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

CBS— President Trump has moved his campaign rally that was originally scheduled for June 19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to the following day. The rally’s original date sparked criticism because June 19, otherwise known as Juneteenth, marks the day that slavery ended in the U.S. The rally also drew condemnation for taking place in Tulsa, the site of a race massacre in which 300 people, mostly black men, women, and children, were killed nearly a century ago. 

Mr. Trump tweeted late Friday night that he rescheduled the rally on the advice of African American friends and supporters. 

“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,” he said. “I have therefore decided to move our rally to Saturday, June 20th, in order to honor their requests.” 

Mr. Trump added that they have already had ticket requests “in excess of 200,000 people.”

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Earlier Friday, Mr. Trump told Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner that his rally would be a “celebration.” 

“Think about it as a celebration. My rally is a celebration. We’re starting — in the history of politics, I think I can say, there has never been any group or any person that has had rallies like I did,” Mr. Trump said.

Mr. Trump’s decision faced significant backlash. Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper, the only black member of the Tulsa City Council, said she was shocked, disappointed and angered when she heard about the president’s plan to hold the rally on June 19. 

“He chooses June 19th, the day African American community celebrates the emancipation of slavery to kick off his campaign and claim that it is because the black community is near and dear to his heart. Are you kidding me?” she said. “If I could stop him from coming, I would do that. And I’m trying to figure out how to do it.”

Senator Kamala Harris said Trump’s rally “isn’t just a wink to white supremacists—he’s throwing them a welcome home party.”

Representative Val Demings tweeted, “Tulsa was the site of the worst racist violence in American history. The president’s speech there on Juneteenth is a message to every Black American: more of the same.”

Supporters of the president have said that the details of the “Make America Great Again” rally were deliberate decisions. Katrina Pierson, senior adviser to the Trump campaign, said on Thursday that “Republicans are proud of this history of Juneteenth.” 

2020 marks the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre, during which a white mob attacked the richest black community in the country at the time. 

The 1921 Greenwood Massacre is the single deadliest act of racial violence in U.S. history. In addition to the hundreds of people who were killed, more than 36 square blocks were burned to the ground, 2,000 business were destroyed and more than 10,000 African Americans were left homeless. 

Nicole Sganga and Sarah Ewall-Wice contributed to this reporting. 

First published on June 13, 2020 / 12:21 AM

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