It turns out that not only did Trump not know about Juneteenth when he scheduled his rally for that day in Tulsa, none of his staff knew either.
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.
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.”
I suspect that every single black person knows about Juneteenth so that supposed lack of knowledge about the date suggests either that his staff is exclusively white or that Trump is using the familiar ‘nobody knew’ excuse as a cover for his own ignorance, despite the fact that the term is widely known and the day commemorated.