Reverend Dr. Robert Turner, the pastor of a historic church that was burned in the Tulsa Massacre nearly a century ago, expressed “disgust” at the Trump campaign’s decision to hold a rally to reelect a man who he said has “sympathized with neo-Confederates” on the anniversary of the abolition of slavery.
Tulsa Reverend Dr. Robert Turner expressed disgust on Friday, that Pres. Trump has "the audacity" to launch his reelection campaign on Junenteenth – a day celebrated for Black liberation from slavery. "This the same president that has sympathized with neo-Confederates," he said. pic.twitter.com/USjagdwkrx
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) June 12, 2020
Turner admonished the president in an MSNBC interview on Friday for launching his first rally in months on Juneteeth — a day intended to memorialize a large loss of life.
“It is disgusting, because this is the same president that has sympathized with neo-Confederates,” Turner said.
The Tulsa Massacre of 1921, which occurred on May 31 into June 1, saw the mass killing of hundreds of residents of Greenwood, a predominantly black community in Oklahoma. Homes were looted and local monuments were burned — including the historic Vernon Chapel A.M.E. Church where Turner now presides. Its significance cannot be overstated for a community that was subject to unthinkable racial violence and destruction 99 years ago.
Trump has been widely criticized for his handling of race. Recently, Democratic opponent Joe Biden accused him of stoking the flames of hate and racial division amid anti-police brutality protests in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.
Some have predicted that Trump, who won 65 percent of the vote in Oklahoma in 2016, will use Tulsa as the political occasion to address race in a speech that’s been loudly whispered about — yet remains undelivered — since the death of George Floyd on May 25.