“Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal: ‘I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous.’”
Trump told WSJ that neither he nor any of his staff seemed to know the meaning of the holiday before furor over Tulsa rally.
Donald Trump has told an interviewer that he was informed about the Juneteenth holiday that commemorates the ending of slavery in the US by one of his own Secret Service agents, who is black.
Trump recently caused anger and raised fears of major social unrest by scheduling his first public campaign rally since the coronavirus pandemic broke out for 19 June, which is the date when Juneteenth is celebrated and how the day got its nickname.
Under pressure late last week, as protests continued coast to coast over racism and police brutality, triggered by the death of George Floyd, an African American, by a white police officer last month, Trump moved the rally to 20 June.
Juneteenth celebrates the anniversary of the day in 1865 when an army general read out Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation in Texas, freeing slaves in a portion of the last un-emancipated state.
But Trump told the Wall Street Journal that neither he nor any of his staff seemed to know the meaning of the holiday before the furor over the Tulsa rally.
“Trump said a black Secret Service agent told him the meaning of Juneteenth as the president was facing criticism for initially planning to hold his first campaign rally in three months on the day,” the paper reported in a lengthy interview with the president.
That lack of knowledge did not stop Trump claiming that his Tulsa rally had greatly helped popularize the holiday – which is already commemorated or observed by 47 states and the District of Columbia.
“I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Trump told the newspaper. “It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”
The Journal reported that Trump said he had asked many people around him about the holiday and none of them had heard of Juneteenth. He then “paused the interview to ask an aide if she had heard of Juneteenth, and she pointed out that the White House had issued a statement last year commemorating the day.”
Trump responded: “Oh really? We put out a statement? The Trump White House put out a statement? OK, OK. Good.”