Bob Franken




Consider the possibility that President Donald Trump never had any intention of holding his first rally on Juneteenth in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That is so absurdly insensitive even for him. Instead, perhaps he was announcing that plan so he could publicly change his mind at the behest of “many of my African American friends and supporters,” as he said in a tweet.
So he announced he was moving his rally back a day, and appeared to be racially enlightened, as opposed to being so crass as to plan to go to Tulsa on the date that slavery fully ended in the United States when it was finally declared in Texas that blacks must be freed, a full two months after the Confederacy had surrendered to the Union army. Actually, it was 16 months after Appomattox that the final skirmish was fought, but we celebrate the date that slaves were emancipated in Texas on June 19, 1865.
Either Trump or one of his subordinates had to know that holding his first rally on Juneteenth in Tulsa — the city where, in 1921, the worst massacre of blacks by whites took the lives of up to 300 African Americans and injured 800 more — would be even too “blasphemous” for him, which was one of the milder quotes.
If you think that’s too clever for the Trump team, consider how devious it is, which makes that scenario entirely plausible. For many, Donald Trump is the latest symbol of a country that has taken this long to make the grudging progress from slavery to a society that is still permeated by racism — a nation that is going through another intense protest involving millions of Americans reacting to still another video of a white cop taking the life of a black man.
Why would he bother with this song and dance, you ask? Well, it certainly takes the focus off the insanity of even holding a rally this soon, cramming thousands of screaming supporters into an indoor Tulsa venue, overlooking the fact that the coronavirus is an ongoing threat to America and, for that matter, the world. The Trump organizers are certainly aware, as evidenced by the requirement that anybody who attends can do so only after signing a waiver holding the campaign free from any legal liability if participants get COVID, which they will.

Already many regions in the United States have exploded into new hot spots in the frenzy to reopen businesses, which may prove premature. Public health officials warn that a second wave could infect many areas, because the deadly virus is still lurking. Imagine how difficult it will be to reimpose a national lockdown after wilting under the economic pressure of the first one, particularly under the leadership of a president who is erratic at best.
Donald Trump and his administration have made a mess of the response from the beginning, where it is conceded that prompt action would have saved thousands of lives. Trumpster dismissed concerns as a “hoax” during the worst of the country’s pandemic, and held out a false hope of hydroxychloroquine as a remedy, creating shortages for its intended use as an anti-malaria drug and a treatment for lupus. He continues with his agitation of protests to intimidate governors to end their restrictions too early. And now his ego trip to Tulsa, where he is actually risking the lives of those in his base.
Add that to his re-election campaign, along with using any tactic he can to smear his opponent, Joe Biden, and his running mate, whichever one Biden chooses. Trump is slipping in the polls, which were never that positive to begin with, so it will be a smear campaign with no boundaries to the dirty tricks he’ll employ, banking on the Democrats not being up to the task of responding in kind.

© 2020 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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