President Trump took his ignorance of Juneteenth and tried to spin it into a positive by claiming that he made the already significant and celebrated anniversary “famous.”
Trump told the Wall Street Journal that a Black Secret Service agent had told him the meaning of Juneteenth after he faced backlash for scheduling a rally on the anniversary’s date, June 19. The president moved the rally to the following day — but then took credit for making the date popular.
“I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Trump said. “It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”
The site of Trump’s rally is also significant: For a rally he initially planned to hold the day that commemorates the official end of chattel slavery in the United States, one of the most overtly racist presidential candidates in decades chose Tulsa, the city where, in 1921, a white mob murdered black people and destroyed a thriving black business district.
Trump didn’t stop at bragging that he made Juneteenth famous. He then claimed that he polled people in his administration and no one had heard of the date that commemorates when a Union general told slaves in Galveston, Texas, that they were free — two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation became law. Then, according to the WSJ, Trump interrupted the interview and asked an aide who was present if she had ever heard of Juneteenth, and she informed the president that a White House statement commemorating the day had gone out each year of his presidency.
To which Trump said: “Oh really? We put out a statement? The Trump White House put out a statement? OK, OK. Good.”
Trump pulls this self-centered, or self-important move all the time. He makes statements like “a lot of people don’t know that” or “what people don’t realize” as a way to make himself seem smart and knowledgeable when he is really exposing his own ignorance.
America’s it’s all about me president even took time out to personalize Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling involving DACA — which, for now, put a halt on attempts to deport hundreds of thousands of young immigrants known as Dreamers. Trump, instead of focusing on the actual reasoning spelled out in the decision, tweeted about how the justices might feel about him personally, writing, “Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?”
Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2020