Last week, Donald Trump was met with criticism when he announced that his first campaign rally in months would take place on Juneteenth (June 19) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the United States and — given current public outcry against police brutality and system racism — many perceived the rally date as disrespectful.
Trump responded to the backlash on Twitter and announced he would reschedule the Tulsa rally to June 20 “out of respect” for the holiday.
“We had previously scheduled our #MAGA Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for June 19th — a big deal,” he 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,” he continued. “I have therefore decided to move our rally to Saturday, June 20th, in order to honor their requests.”
Critics also speculated about the location of the rally, as Tulsa has violent racial past. A section of the city — dubbed “Black Wall Street” — was the site of a massacre of hundreds of African Americans back in 1921. More recently, a local police officer faced backlash and became “under review” after suggesting that cops are shooting African Americans “less than we probably ought to be” during a local radio station interview.
According to Tulsa Police Department Chief Wendell Franklin, the cop’s comments are not “endorsed, condoned or supported” by the police department and incident has been referred to their Internal Affairs Unit.
Trump has also been criticized for his lack of acknowledgement amidst nationwide protests in the wake of the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. He previously addressed protesters on Twitter — calling them “thugs” — and threatened military control.