Trump postpones Tulsa Oklahoma rally date ‘out of respect’

Trump postpones Tulsa Oklahoma rally date 'out of respect'
President Trump last held a campaign rally in early March. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: US President Donald Trump postpones his election rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so it does not fall on a holiday commemorating the end of US slavery.

The rally was set to be the first rally since the coronavirus lockdown takes place.

The President tweeted that the 19 June rally would be held a day later out of respect for the occasion, known as Juneteenth.

When Trump campaign announced the date, it had drawn criticism amid nationwide anti-racism protests.

The location was also controversial, as the city of Tulsa saw one of the worst massacres of black people in US history in 1921.

Up to 300 people died when a white mob attacked the prosperous black neighbourhood of Greenwood, known as the “Black Wall Street”, with guns and explosives and about 1000 homes and business were also demolished.

President Trump to restart election rallies on key slavery date
The President faces re-election in November but is lagging behind his Democratic rival, Joe Biden.  Source: Reuters

Why are the date and venue controversial?

While not a federal holiday, it is celebrated widely by African Americans and Juneteenth is an annual commemoration of the end of slavery.

It celebrates the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to enslaved African Americans in Texas.

Texas was the last state of the Confederacy to receive the proclamation, on 19 June 1865, months after the end of the war.

Trump re-election campaign aide Katrina Pearson defended the timing of the rally, saying “that the party of [Civil War victor Abraham] Lincoln, Republicans are proud of the history of Juneteenth”. said in a statement, quoted by Bloomberg, “that the party of [Civil War victor Abraham] Lincoln, Republicans are proud of the history of Juneteenth”.

Initially, President Trump had defended the timing of his rally. He told Fox News: “Think about it as a celebration. My rally is a celebration. In the history of politics, I think I can say there’s never been any group or any person that’s had rallies like I do.”

Trump’s approval rating is declining. Source: RealClearPolitics (as of 12 June)

But critics accused him of disrespecting the date and the significance of Tulsa to US history.

Democratic Senator Kamala Harris said: “This isn’t just a wink to white supremacists – he’s throwing them a welcome home party.”

Mr Trump explained the decision of changing the time, tweeted: “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.”

”I have therefore decided to move our rally to Saturday, June 20th, in order to honor their requests…,” the President added.