The optics of a Trump rally in Tulsa, on Juneteenth would have been terrible at any time. But coming in the middle of nationwide Black Lives Matter protests made the date untenable. Trump claimed he rescheduled “out of respect.”
In an interview in today’s Wall Street Journal, Trump tried to turn his misstep into a success story. But he made it clear that his only interest in the holiday, like everything else, was in using it to make himself look good.
From The Washington Post’s Philip Bump:
“I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Trump told [WSJ’s Michael] Bender. “It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”
He hadn’t, at least, nor had others he asked. Trump told Bender that “a black Secret Service agent” told him what the day meant. His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, similarly didn’t know why the date was meaningful, according to a report in the New York Times.
“Parscale conceded he had not been aware of the holiday, multiple people familiar with the conversation said,” according to the Times’s article. “But he responded that the campaign had held events on Jewish holidays, and last year held a ‘Merry Christmas’ rally in Battle Creek, Mich., none of which were criticized as disrespectful to the people who celebrated those holidays. He said he thought it would not be a problem
The idea that Trump wasn’t alone in his ignorance is obviously untrue in general, given the holiday’s history, but specifically untrue given that the Trump administration has repeatedly issued formal proclamations recognizing the holiday.
There is probably nothing Donald Trump won’t make about himself and nothing he won’t lie about to do it.