President Trump is considering addressing civil unrest and racial justice issues at his campaign rally in Oklahoma later this week, according to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.
Mr. Trump moved a scheduled campaign rally in Oklahoma from June 19 to Saturday, June 20, amid concerns about the rally overlapping with the Juneteenth commemoration of the ending of slavery in America. Mr. Trump’s critics noted that Tulsa, Oklahoma, was the site of racial violence nearly 100 years ago.
Dr. Carson told ABC that he spoke with Mr. Trump amid the decision to move the rally back one day and learned that Mr. Trump was well aware of the significance of the Juneteenth date.
“I was pleasantly surprised at how much he knew about [Juneteenth] already—knew about the Black Wall Street there and the whole history of it,” Dr. Carson said on ABC. “And thinking about making some remarks to acknowledge what had happened there and why we don’t want that kind of situation to ever occur in this country again.”
In 1921, white rioters burned and looted a predominantly African American area of Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum, which devastated the Greenwood District, alternatively known as “Black Wall Street.”
Nearly 100 years later as protests about racial justice have spread nationwide, Mr. Trump has deliberated about the right way and forum to address the civil unrest. Dr. Carson said it was “probably good” that Mr. Trump moved the campaign rally’s date, but also cautioned against ascribing a negative connotation to physical locations because of their historical significance.
When asked on ABC about the Republican National Convention’s move to Jacksonville, Florida, which had also been a site of racial violence many decades earlier, Dr. Carson said people need not be so concerned with political correctness.
“We need to move away from being offended by everything, of going through history and looking at everything, of renaming everything,” Dr. Carson said.
He added, “It really gets to a point of being ridiculous after a while and we’re going to have to grow up as a society.”
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