In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on June 18, President Trump spoke about his response to the coronavirus pandemic and the protests against racism, even claiming that he “made Juneteenth very famous” by initially scheduling a campaign rally on that day, according to Fox News.
“I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Trump said in the interview. “It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”
“We had previously scheduled our #MAGA Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for June 19th – a big deal. Unfortunately, however, this would fall on the Juneteenth Holiday,” the president wrote late Friday.
“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.”
…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…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2020
Trump also defended his controversial visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House amid the protests, saying, “You have people screaming all over the place, and I didn’t think it was exactly the right time to pray—I’m on the sidewalk,” Trump said. “And the church itself, I didn’t want to go in because they had a lot of insurance reasons.”
“You know, the church was boarded up. The entire church was boarded up, and I knew that. So I went there, stood there, held up the Bible, talked to a few people and then we left. I came back, and I got bad publicity.”
Trump also noted that the economy is on the rise.
“We will have created a lot of jobs prior to November 3,” Trump said. “I expect a tremendous increase in GDP. And we’ll be heading for the top. We’ll be back.”
More from Fox News:
Juneteenth — on June 19 — is actually a well-known date on the calendar commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The holiday marks the date in 1865 that President Lincoln’s order to free American slaves reached Galveston, Texas.
Trump originally had a rally scheduled for June 19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where in 1921, a mob of white residents massacred black residents and burned black businesses. As many as 300 are believed to have died. But — after taking criticism amid the protests against police brutality and racism — Trump moved the rally date to June 20 “out of respect.”
In the interview, Trump said he learned of the importance of the holiday from a black Secret Service agent, as he was facing criticism for his original rally plans. Holding the rally on that day, as racial injustice protests raged across the country following the death of George Floyd, was insensitive, Trump said he learned from African American leaders.
According to the Journal, Trump seemed confident building a strong economy was the answer to rooting out racism in America.
When asked if he believes structural racism exists in America’s economic and criminal justice systems, the president responded: “I’d like to think there is not, but unfortunately, there probably is some. I would also say it’s very substantially less than it used to be.”
As expected, the Left grew very frustrated by this remark and sent the following responses on social media:
Really? He did it for himself. The outrage was deafening. He is so clueless that he had no idea the impact of June 19.
— Pam Gardner (@Pamela_Gardner) June 13, 2020
The fact that you didn’t already know about this date speaks volumes.
— sonia burnette 🦅 (@soniaBurnIT) June 13, 2020
I think he did this on purpose. Schedule it for Juneteenth, to “trigger the libs” as they say, and then reschedule so it appears as if he actually cares. But we know better. The whole thing is a stunt, everything he does is a stunt of self promotion. He cares for no one!
— Ann Marie Stoia (@StoiaAnn) June 13, 2020
He respects the black community. pic.twitter.com/V5HFHiGGvC
— Bruno Amato (@BrunoAmato_1) June 13, 2020
It has NOTHING to do with the date at all. You are busy working out the details to prevent folks from suing you at your klan rallies.
— Jayden j (@jaydenj_j) June 14, 2020
You’re such a liar
— Eweneye (@ifly4moi) June 14, 2020
You are trying to kill people; otherwise why would you have people sign a waiver ???
— Venesia (@venesiagordon) June 15, 2020
Lol pretty funny when you say “the importance of this holiday” If you actually thought it was important you wouldn’t need your African American friends to tell you to move the date of your rally. You really are a pisser.
— pls-stop (@LaurieLewis13) June 15, 2020