"I made Juneteenth very famous," Donald Trump said in a recent interview

By Ashley Boucher
June 19, 2020 05:23 PM
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President Donald Trump
| Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty

Donald Trump was reportedly taught about Juneteenth by one of his own Secret Service agents.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Friday, Trump said that he "made Juneteenth very famous."

Trump, 74, had originally planned to hold a rally for his presidential campaign on June 19, but rescheduled the event to Saturday following backlash.

"Mr. 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," WSJ reported.

Juneteenth celebrates the day that the last enslaved people in Texas were freed in 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

President Donald Trump
| Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

"I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous," Trump told the WSJ. "It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it."

The outlet reported that during the conversation about Juneteenth, Trump stopped the interview to ask those around him if they had heard of the holiday, which is not widely taught in U.S. schools.

One aide reportedly pointed out to the president that his own administration had released a statement on June 19 last year — and, in fact, each year he has been in office.

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"Oh really? We put out a statement? The Trump White House put out a statement?" Trump said, WSJ reported. "OK, OK. Good."

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Friday that Trump "did not just learn about Juneteenth this week," according to CNN.

On Friday, the White House released a "presidential message" regarding Juneteenth.

"Juneteenth reminds us of both the unimaginable injustice of slavery and the incomparable joy that must have attended emancipation," the statement said. "It is both a remembrance of a blight on our history and a celebration of our Nation’s unsurpassed ability to triumph over darkness."

"That ability is rooted in the fundamental goodness of America—in the truths upon which we, as a Nation, declared an end to our status as the subjects of a monarch and emerged as a free and independent people: that all men are created equal by the hand of God, endowed by our Creator with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Trump wrote on Twitter Friday that the rally in Tulsa on Saturday will "be a much different scene" for any would-be protesters.

"Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis," he wrote.

While Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum had previously announced a curfew in the area of the rally for Saturday, Trump tweeted on Friday that they had spoken, and that there "will be no curfew tonight or tomorrow for our many supporters attending the Rally."

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.