Donald Trump is racist. Donald Trump thinks he is clever.
Donald Trump probably thought scheduling a rally on Juneteenth—in Tulsa, where white rioters once massacred 300 black people for the temerity of being prosperous and self-sufficient, and during a time when people across the country are protesting in the streets against racism—was a clever way to signal to his followers that he is still racist.
Earlier in the week, NBC news reported that members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other elected officials spoke out in outrage at the President’s plan to hold a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on the anniversary of the date when black people enslaved in the U.S. were informed of their freedom.
Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said the decision to hold a rally there on June 19 “is disrespectful to the lives and community that was lost during the Tulsa race riot.”
“This was a massacre of innocent Black inhabitants by White supremacists in a span of 24 hours,” Bass said in a statement to NBC News.
“This was the worst act of racial violence to date,” she added, “and yet this is the place that the president, who has pursued nothing but a hostile and oppressive agenda for black people since his inauguration, has chosen to celebrate.”
“A beautiful new venue, brand new. We’re looking forward to it,” Trump said when announcing the rally at a White House event on Wednesday. “They’ve done a great job with COVID, as you know, the state of Oklahoma.”
New numbers from the Oklahoma’s Department of Health show that the state recently recorded its largest increase in coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, local station KTUL reported on Friday, proving again that the President cannot be depended on for accurate information and that the stated reasoning behind having a mass event in Tulsa makes no sense.
What about the decision to hold the rally on Juneteenth? Let’s hear what White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnnany had to say when asked that very question by reporters from NBC News on Thursday:
The African American community is “near and dear” to the president’s heart, McEnany responded, adding that he uses campaign events as an opportunity to share work he’s done for minority communities. She called Juneteenth a “meaningful day” for Trump.
But by the next day Trump reversed tack—tweeting that “African American friends and supporters” informed him that the date his press secretary claimed was so meaningful for him should not be when he holds his next white supremacist gathering.
This rescheduling is not because Donald Trump cares about any pain he may cause black people in America during a time when we are (again) in collective mourning from racist violence.
Nor is it because Trump was blissfully unaware of the significance of the time and place of this rally, given that his White House administration is notorious for pushing bigoted policies and racist dog whistles in line with his own personal history of repugnant anti-blackness. The President is not clever or smart, but no one ever said intelligence was a pre-requisite to bigotry.
Donald Trump made the reversal because he is a coward, like most racists, and because he has a bottomless desire for praise even though he does nothing to earn it.
Meanwhile, despite the recent spike in COVID cases in the state, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt says he is excited and “honored” that Trump is coming there for a campaign stop during a pandemic.
“His visit here confirms Oklahoma is the national example in responsibly and safely reopening,” said Stitt in a statement.
Attendees of the rescheduled event in Tulsa will have to sign a waiver promising not to sue the President’s campaign if they are exposed to COVID-19 at the Darwinian gathering: