Trump Campaign Didn’t Expect Level of Blowback On Tulsa Juneteenth Rally Decision

President Donald Trump participates in a press conference at the Kennedy Space Center on May 27, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (Photo by Saul Martinez/Getty Images)
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June 15, 2020 10:17 a.m.

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. 

“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.

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