US President Donald Trump has postponed a scheduled campaign meeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by one day from June 19 to June 20. He says he does this out of respect for his black friends.
“Many of my African-American friends and supporters have suggested changing the date out of respect for this anniversary and all it represents,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The original date of the rally was “Juneteenth”, a national holiday in the US. It is commemorated that on June 19, 1865, all slaves were released in the state of Texas.
In addition to the date, the place of the meeting is also controversial and a cause for much criticism. Tulsa was the scene of serious race riots in 1921. A white crowd attacked African American citizens and businesses. According to official figures, 36 people died, a state commission that investigated later concluded that 100 to 300 people had died. It is one of the most violent outbreaks of racial violence in US history.
Trump denied that date and place were conscious choices, but friend and foe don’t believe that. On the Trump-minded Fox News, black interviewer Harris Faulkner, who interviewed Trump a day earlier, asked whether “the President is aware of the painful history behind Tulsa for black Americans.”
Black Democratic Senator Kamala Harris also had no good word for the plan on Twitter:
“This isn’t just a nod to white racists, he’s throwing them a welcome home party.”
Trump has been unable to hold public campaign meetings for over three months because of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. that killed over 114,000 Americans so far.