President Trump was aware of Juneteenth’s history when the date was selected for the relaunch of his reelection campaign rallies, but, according to the Associated Press, he did not expect the level of opposition that ensued after announcing the decision.
AP reporter Jonathan Lemire said on Monday that the Trump campaign "very much knew" that they had selected Juneteenth when they first set the date for the president's rally for reelection in Tulsa. The campaign was "caught off guard" Lemire said, by the intensity of the blowback. pic.twitter.com/GZDgStxIHk
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) June 15, 2020
“Just to be clear, campaign officials very much knew that it was Juneteenth when they selected that date,” Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” hosts on Monday. “They expected some blowback, they were caught off guard by the intensity of it. The president eventually bowed to pressure and moved it from the 19th to the 20th, Saturday.”
Since the announcement of the rally, the president has been harshly criticized for selecting a date that coincided with the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the United States.
The initial June 19 Trump rally was also scheduled to fall within a few weeks of the anniversary of a bloody stain on the city’s past — the 1921 massacre of hundreds of black residents along Tulsa’s then-thriving “Black Wall Street,” on May 31. The “Tulsa Massacre” continued into the next day with the looting and burning of local businesses.
In an interview with Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner that aired on Friday, Trump said he did not purposely select that date for his rally. The Trump campaign announced later on Friday that it would postpone the event by one day, although some say the change from June 19 to June 20 does not undo the backdrop of Tulsa’s violent racial history and site of one of the country’s most brutal racial massacres.