Trump Moves Tulsa MAGA Rally From Juneteenth Amid Criticism, City Officials Warn Against Holding It At All
President Donald Trump has moved his Tulsa, Oklahoma rally scheduled for the Juneteenth holiday, which celebrates the end of slavery after considerable pressure and criticism.
Trump’s signature rally, “Make America Great Again,” was scheduled to take place in Tulsa on June 19, the day of a holiday known as “Juneteenth” that celebrates the day when the last Confederate states freed slaves in 1865.
Trump’s plans to restart his rallies on the day of the holiday after the three-month coronavirus hiatus sparked criticism, as the whole country is still engulfed in weeks-long anti-racism protests after an African-American man, George Floyd, was murdered by a white Minneapolis police officer during the arrest procedure.
Trump tweeted over the weekend that he would move the rally to June 20 to avoid overlapping with the holiday.
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. Many of my African American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2020
Although Trump moved the rally one day later, the rally is still being criticized due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Tulsa World editorial board published an op-ed, urging Trump to postpone the rally over the pandemic concerns, saying it was “the wrong time” and “the wrong place” for the rally.
“We don’t know why he chose Tulsa, but we can’t see any way that his visit will be good for the city,” the board wrote on Monday. “There is no treatment for COVID-19 and no vaccine. It will be our health care system that will have to deal with whatever effects follow.”
The board also noted on the racial unrest in the country, noting that Tulsa has a historical significance in the anti-racism movement. The city was the location of a massacre of black people, committed by white mobs in 1921.
“It has already concentrated the world’s attention of the fact that Trump will be rallying in a city that 99 years ago was the site of a bloody race massacre,” the Tulsa World wrote. “This is the wrong place for the rally.”
Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Bruce Dart also voiced his concerns over the health risks, as the rally is taking place at the Tulsa BOK Center, an indoor arena with an audience capacity of about 20,000.
“I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well,” he said.
“COVID is here in Tulsa, it is transmitting very efficiently,” Dart added. “I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today.”
Meanwhile, Trump campaign’s website featured a disclaimer, asking rallygoers to sign a waiver to agree that Trump and other campaign organizers won’t be held liable if attendees contract coronavirus at the event.